MANILA— A fresh wave of fatal riots in the state penitentiary, which left at least 13 prisoners dead and scores wounded, appears to be a result of a clash between warring gangs, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said Wednesday.
Scuffles between the “Sputnik” and “Commando” gangs in the east quadrant of the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in the past 2 months started after someone from the LGBT community was insulted, BuCor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag told ANC.
“Alam niyo ‘yung culture dito sa loob, itinuturing nila talaga na partner ang isang gano’n na kaibigan at kung ikaw ay nabastos, parang asawa nila ‘yung nabastos. Gano’n po. ‘Yun ang nag-trigger last month,” he said.
(In the culture inside here, they treat their friends as partners and when if you are insulted, it’s as if their partners were insulted. That’s what triggered it last month.)
Last month’s brawl left 9 prisoners dead and 7 others injured, while 4 were killed and over 60 were hurt in Monday’s free-for-all.
Chaclag said 20 of those injured were recuperating in Ospital ng Muntinlupa. They are expected to be returned to the state penitentiary in the coming days.
The tense situation inside NBP is also compounded by lockdown rules where in-person visits are prohibited to curb the spread of COVID-19, he added.
“We recognize na ‘yung situation dito dahil doon sa pagkaboryo ng PDL (persons deprived of liberty) dahil mula nung March 10 wala silang dalaw,” Chaclag said.
(We recognize that the situation here is due to the PDLs’ restlessness because they have not been visited (by their loved ones) since March 10.)
To prevent another riot, Chaclag said they would be implementing “strong” interventions such as confining prisoners to their dorms. They will only be allowed to go outside in case they need medical help.
The agency will also file complaints against those involved in the riots, which were identified through security cameras, he added.
Chaclag said they would also intensify their campaign “Oplan Bura Tatak” or erasing gang markings (fresh tattoos are layered over) as part of their efforts to end gang culture that sparks violence in prison facilities.
“’Pag na alter ‘yung kanilang mark, sa isip nila, nabura na rin ‘yung loyalty nila sa isang grupo,” he said.
(If their marks are altered, they believe that their loyalty to their group is also erased.)