BuCor destroys thousands of Bilibid contraband

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 11 2019 04:01 PM

Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag leads the destruction of contraband seized inside the New Bilibid Prison and surrendered by inmates on Monday. Contraband includes improvised liquor, bladed objects, adult magazines, CDs, tobacco, laptops, and cellphones. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Bureau of Corrections on Monday destroyed thousands of contraband seized from the national penitentiary since Oct. 9.

“Feeling ko parang akong dalawang taon na dito, nababagalan ako sa pagpapayos nitong BuCor...Hindi ako pinong tao magaspang ako para ayusin ang BuCor. Para akong liha na liliha sa inyo," an irate BuCor chief Gerald Bantag told his personnel.

(I feel like I've been here for 2 years already, I find reforming BuCor too slow. I'm not a refined person, I'm rough. I'm like a sandpaper that will refine BuCor.)

Included in the seized items were cellphones, charger, keyboards, pocket wifi, internet routers, and electric sub-meters.

Authorities also seized deadly weapons such as short and long knives, ice picks, sharp metals, scissors, nails, and make shift metal batons.

The search yielded other items such as DVDs and DVD players, remote controls, rolls of tobacco, magazines, and wines placed in white ordinary gallons.

Some cellphones, however, were kept for intelligence purposes since it contained information that can be used for the government's campaign on illegal drugs. 

“Yung iba magagaling, tinatanggal na ang SIM card, yung iba Chinese character paano mo mababasa?” Bantag said.

(Some are good, they remove the SIM cards, while some messages were in Chinese characters, how would you read that?)

He said ordinary cellphones are bought by inmates from prison personnel for as much as P50,000 per unit. Syndicates, especially Chinese nationals, pay higher than ordinary inmates, Bantag said.

Wines also slipped through inspection and are sold by corrupt personnel for P10,000 per bottle, and tobacco for P4,000 per roll, he added.

Bantag said he would relieve more officials and personnel in the coming weeks despite threats to his life.

He was also planning to create a technical working group that would professionalize the bureau starting with the appointment of the Director General.