Authorities yesterday ordered the demolition of “kubols” or luxury cottages and illegal structures at the New Bilibid Prison.
Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Bantag, Police Maj Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and Maj. Gen. Amando Empiso led the demolition of the illegal structures within Bilibid’s Maximum Compound, Philippine Star reported.
Eleazar is director of the National Capital Region Police Office while Empiso is chief of the elite police Special Action Force.
SAF are stationed at the Bilibid in an effort to curb illegal drug activities inside prison walls.
The BuCor, in a statement, said that the operation started at 5am and involved 1,800 personnel from law enforcement agencies and from the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Demolition equipment from the DPWH, fire trucks from the Bureau of Fire Protection and two police armoured personnel carriers were also used in the demolition. According to the bureau, there are 18,000 prisoners detained inside the maximum security compound, which houses those who are considered highly dangerous or pose high security risks.
The bureau said that the illegally built structures “breed corruption” since prisoners pay personnel to allow construction materials in.
“It was noted that, in the past, the roving personnel find it hard to conduct custodial functions because of these shanties thus, empowering the convicts or Persons Deprived of Liberty to continue their unlawful activities,” BuCor said.
Bantag earlier said in an interview with GMA that bribery of officials continues at the NBP. He said drug lords continue paying prison officers, despite the change of leadership at the bureau. Early in October, Bantag relieved more 300 jail guards at the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison.
“We have a directive coming from the president for a total revamp and to clean up the BuCor. There are allegations of irregularities, so we relieved them,” BuCor spokesperson Wena Fe Dalagan said.
Asked for comment, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Bantag has “personal knowledge of facts on the ground.”
The Justice chief added that moneyed inmates would continue to “buy convenience, luxury, and freedom to engage in nefarious activities while in detention.”
Eradicating corruption in the country’s penitentiaries is Bantag’s challenge, Guevarra added.
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