MANILA — Authorities unveiled Monday changes at the New Bilibid Prison's maximum security compound, including a fence around the prison hospital and the demolition of cottages or "kubols" allegedly used by high-profile inmates.
Witnesses at a recent Senate investigation have claimed various irregularities in the prison including bribery for the early release of prisoners, smuggling of contraband items, and admission to the NBP Hospital, which was allegedly used as a "command center" for drug operations.
On Monday Bureau of Corrections Director Gerald Bantag showed reporters mounds of debris where the kubols were allegedly erected. The prison hospital is now separated from the rest of the maximum security compound by a fence.
Bantag thanked the police, military, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and other agencies that helped in the clearing operations.
Sixteen Metro Manila policemen earlier this month were accused of smuggling tobacco, alcohol and mobile phones into the prison, prompting the recall of around 200 police officers from Bilibid.
The 16 officers have submitted their affidavits and were assigned to the National Capital Region Police Office's holding area, said the unit's acting chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas.
The group should also face criminal complaints, said former NCRPO chief and now police Directorial Staff chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
Meanwhile, the visitation rights of prisoners, which have been suspended since Oct. 9, will be restored after debris from the demolished cottages have been cleared, said Bantag.
With reports from Jerome Lantin and Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News