With the aid of surveillance camera footage and the testimony of fellow inmates, the prisoner who hurled a grenade that wounded six convicts at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last month has been identified.
The Department of Justice said Tuesday the National Bureau of Investigation had recommended to the Muntinlupa City Prosecutor’s Office the filing of attempted murder charges against Henry Villa, alias Jeffrey Bulusok, a member of the Batang Samar Leyte (BSL) gang.
Four other inmates identified as Villa’s cohorts by the NBI will also be charged with attempted murder for the Nov. 16 incident. They are Ronaldo Torres, leader of the BSL; Pablo Anora, head of the Batang City Jail (BCJ) gang; Jerry Pepino, chief of the Batman gang, and Joseph Mostrales, a BCJ “trustee.”
The NBI found in its month-long investigation that the grenade throwing was a bid by the suspects to install a new jail leader and take over the illegal activities at the prison, like drug- and alcohol-running and the kidnapping of inmates’ visitors.
In its Dec. 14 report to De Lima, the NBI said two inmates, Emelino Sitchon and Nino Garing, identified Villa as the one who hurled the grenade at a group of inmates jogging in front of Building 11 on Church Road in the prison’s maximum security compound.
Sitchon said he saw Villa, who had a white towel on his head, hurl an object and run away, after which there was a loud explosion.
Garing said he noticed Villa walking toward Building 11 and run in the opposite direction after he heard a loud bang.
Another inmate, George de la Pena, told investigators that two weeks before the incident, he overheard two inmates—Anora and Torres—talking about a plan involving a grenade.
De la Pena said he also overheard Torres, Mostrales and Pepino “planning to explode a grenade in the compound of the BCJ so Pablo Anora could take over the leadership from Froilan Trestiza.”
“As a consequence, they would control the illegal activities inside the NBP, like the illegal drugs and liquor trade and kidnapping of inmates’ visitors,” said the NBI report.
The NBI said the three witnesses underwent lie detector tests and the results showed that their statements “had a semblance of truthfulness.”
The CCTV footage reviewed by the NBI showed a man wearing an orange T-shirt and denim shorts with a white towel over his head hurling a grenade.
Four inmates, three of whom were wounded in the explosion, filed complaints against the five inmates.
The incident prompted De Lima to relieve top NBP officials and all the guards.