MANILA – Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Franklin Bucayu attempted to block a planned raid of the police at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Benjamin Magalong claimed Wednesday.
Magalong, currently the deputy chief for operations of the Philippine National Police, told a House inquiry that the police had planned the raid at the Bilibid after police traced various drug transactions to the national penitentiary.
He said he informed then-Justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima about the anomalies at the NBP.
This prompted the justice secretary to conduct a high-level meeting that involved the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Ni-reiterate ko ang proposal na we have to raid NBP and take actions against the NBP. We showed her several pictures nung mga kubol, and yung mga link diagrams na na-create namin together with the PDEA,” Magalong said.
[I reiterated my proposal to raid the NBP and take actions. We showed her several pictures of the ‘kubols’ and the link diagrams we created with the PDEA.]
“In one particular meeting, nagalit siya, galit na galit siya nung nakita niya ang picture ng kubol ni [inmate Herbert] Colangco at gusto na niyang sugurin.”
[In one particular meeting, she got furious when she saw the photos of the kubol of inmate Herbert Colanggo. She wanted to storm the Bilibid.]
Magalong said then-BuCor chief Bucayu was later included in the meetings, which were part of the case operation plan (Coplan) Cronus.
He said Bucayu asked him if he could not push through with the raid.
“Sabi niya, ‘Benjie mahihirapan kayo dyan’. Ang dami niyang binanggit na negative manifestations. Nevertheless we prevailed,” Magalong said.
Magalong said sometime in September 2014, Bucayu and another official went to his office and renewed pleas not to conduct the raid.
“Sabi ko, ‘bakit sir? Eh nakita niyo naman ang development sa loob. Sabi ni General Bucayu, ‘Benjie mamamatay ako. Delikado ako dyan,’” he said.
Magalong said he just told Bucayu that de Lima was the right person to decide on his plea.
Magalong said he waited for the higher-ups to green light the raid. However, in December 2014, he was surprised that the NBP launched its own raid and left CIDG and PDEA out of the picture.
The NBP raids had yielded various contraband, including luxury items, alcoholic drinks, sex toys, and gadgets.
“Pati yung mga contact namin sa PDEA, nagtataka sila bakit magkakaroon ng raid ang NBP na di na kami kasali,” he said.
[Even our contacts in PDEA were wondering why the NBP raids were pushing through without us.]
“At the same time, yung PDEA ang pinadala lang sa kanila, ang ni-request eh K9 na lang... Kami po ng PDEA talagang masamang-masama ang loob namin."
[Even the PDEA, all was requested from them were K9 dogs... We and the PDEA were really disappointed with the development.]
Leaders of inmates at the national penitentiary have implicated de Lima in the drug trade, something the neophyte senator has denied.
Bucayu was also accused by one of the inmates of receiving payoffs from drug dealers inside the Bilibid.