MANILA - Doctors have found a "source of income" in passes that allow inmates to stay at the New Bilibid Prison's hospital, a former police official said Tuesday, ahead of his appearance in a Senate inquiry into the alleged corruption at the national penitentiary.
Convicted drug lords have allegedly been taking advantage of hospital confinement to continue running their illegal activities from behind bars, Sen. Christopher Go said in a Senate hearing last week, citing information from a tipster.
Retired general Benjamin Magalong, mayor of Baguio City, said he had "heard so much" about the alleged sale of hospital passes back when he was still head of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
"It's a source of income by our medical practitioners... If the drug dealers would like to get in contact with their relatives, gain some devices, they usually go to the clinic or the infirmary and that's where they're free to interact with their friends or their contacts and give instructions to their couriers," he told ANC.
Magalong earlier claimed his police unit was excluded from a 2014 raid of the Bilibid after he tipped off then justice secretary Leila De Lima of the drug transactions of Chinese inmates.
It was under De Lima's tenure as Cabinet secretary that implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were issued for the release of prisoners based on good conduct credits, which spawned a Senate inquiry after reports that it led to the release of some 2,000 heinous crime convicts.
Asked if Magalong's statement during the Senate hearing on Thursday will involve De Lima, he said, "I don't think that's part of the issues that will be discussed," adding that he was "not really familiar" with the IRR.
Magalong said he would instead urge lawmakers to curb corruption at the Bureau of Corrections.
"It requires artificial intelligence; not just simply talking about technology or precluding human contact, but seeing analytics," he said.
ANC, September 17, 2019