Bilibid prison hospital used as narco 'communications center' - witness

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2019 02:20 PM

MANILA - A former inmate at the New Bilibid Prison on Thursday said high-profile inmates were using the state prison’s hospital to conduct their illegal drug operations.

Inmates that are not sick can stay for months in the hospital by paying a “considerable amount” to NBP doctor Urcisio Cenas, former Valencia City, Bukidnon Mayor Jose Galario Jr., a graft convict, said. 

“Iyung mga drug lords d'yan, even though their sickness is little, where they can be discharged in one or two weeks, because of money it can reach as much as 7 months, 8 months,” Galario told a Senate hearing.

(The drug lords, even if they have little sickness and can be discharged in one or two weeks, because of money their confinement can reach up to 7 or 8 months.)

“I observed it because while I was there undergoing close monitoring of my health, I studied it.”

Cenas denied Galario’s allegation.

“Kaming mga doctor, nagre-rely lang kami sa evaluation ng nurse na pinadala,” Cenas said.

(We doctors just rely on the evaluation of the nurses.)

Galario said one of the drug lords, a certain “Boy Buwaya”, used the hospital’s Medical Ward 3 as his “communications center” in his drug operations.

“Sa labas ang drugs galing, pero ang instructions ng financiers, sa loob mismo galing,” Galario said.

(The drugs come from outside Bilibid, but the instructions of the financiers come from the inside.)

He said the drug lord also has an affair with Bilibid hospital nurse Meryl Benitez, whom he accused of smuggling contraband for inmates.

Galario identified the other inmates who alleged bought hospital passes as Louie Castro, Cha-cha Camata, Noel Fernandez, Rodel Castellano, alias Joseph, alias Mong, and alias Tata.

He also believes that the hospital’s chief, Ernesto Tamayo, was aware of the illicit activities in the facility.

Galario made this revelation as the Senate investigates alleged abuses in the grant of good conduct credits for inmates, which can be used as a ticket to early freedom.

Over the course of its investigation, the chamber uncovered various anomalies at the state penitentiary, including BuCor officials allegedly allowing prohibited items such as cellphones into prison.