The Senate adopted the recommendation of Senator Dick Gordon to file charges against officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) after conducting an investigation and uncovering other anomalies activities inside the NBP, aside from the abusive implementation of Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA)law.
“The BuCor, alas, is manned by rotten apples, and corrupt officials. It is rotten to the core — and, from top to bottom. If we are to improve its functions, if we are to have the Bureau regain the trust of our people, no less than a massive change in personnel and in character is required,” Gordon stressed when he sponsored Tuesday Committee Report No. 42, which was also adopted on the same day.
“Only a total replacement of the whole bureaucracy will allow us to see a new, honest, sincere, serious, and effective agency.”
“Mere lancing of the boil will not be sufficient; putrefaction in that agency is so far advanced, only a total replacement of the whole bureaucracy will allow us to see a new, honest, sincere, serious, and effective agency,” the veteran legislator added.
Recommended charged were:
1. Former Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) for committing nonfeasance in not complying with the requirements of Department Order No. 953;
2. Ramoncito “Chito” Roque (Chief of the Documents and Record Section of BuCor); Ma. Benilda “Mabel” Bansil (Corrections Senior Inspector); and Veronica “Boday” Buno (Corrections Officer) for accepting money for the promise of early release of prisoners; and
3. Dr. Ernesto Tamayo (Director, Directorate for Health Services, New Bilibid Prison Hospital); Dr. Ursicio D. Cenas (Medical Officer); and Ms. Meryl Benitez (Nursing Attendant) for accepting money in order for PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) to be confined in the New Bilibid Prison Hospital.
To reform the penal system, the seasoned lawmaker recommended the following, among others:
a. There should be a Model System of Penology;
b. There should be full digitalization of the carpetas, which should be accessible to the public or the families of the concerned parties;
c. There should be transparency, especially with regard to the computation of time allowances and release of prisoners;
d. Full digitization of all prisoner records is a must;
e. Digitization of BuCor and BJMP employees and personnel records for easy monitoring and filing;
f. The New Bilibid Hospital should be maintained and be well-equipped with adequate medical services;
g. There should be an operations center which can monitor every prisoner;
h. The use of artificial intelligence, digital and video analytics with command center independent from each other, inside our prison facilities to ensure that the PDLs, guards, employees are constantly monitored; and
i. There should also be a Code of Conduct followed.
“The New Bilibid Prison became a place of vulnerability.”
“The New Bilibid Prison became a place of vulnerability. Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL), while they deserve to be in prison because of their crimes, does not mean that they should be exploited and be taken advantage of. Their vulnerable situation makes them prone to the many extortions done inside the Bilibid,” the senator pointed out.
During the investigation conducted by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights with the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (Blue Ribbon), Gordon also uncovered several other anomalous activities inside the NBP that exploit and take advantage of the vulnerable situation of inmates. These activities include prostitution, sale of hospital confinement passes, allowing entry of contrabands, allowing the construction of “kubols” (huts) and favouring caterers to the detriment of the inmates.