Bilibid inmates deny plotting to kill Duterte, incoming PNP chief
Sixteen inmates from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on Tuesday denied conspiring to kill President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and incoming Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa earlier revealed that drug lords have put up a bounty for his and Duterte’s head.
He said the bounty was initially at P10 million but was raised to P50 million because there was “no taker.”
But a source told INQUIRER.net that the bounty was higher because each crime lord had committed P50 million for the bounty.
“Kami ay nanindigan na walang sinuman sa amin ang sangkot sa planong ito kung totoong mayroon man (We maintain that none of us are involved in such a plan if it’s true that one exists),” said the manifesto signed by 16 inmates at Building 14 which was sent to Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas.
The inmates said they were fearful that such rumors about the bounty were deliberately being spread and fueled to condition the minds of the public to justify any untoward incident that may happen to them.
“Worse, such purported ‘conspiracy’ may even be intentionally exploited or taken advantage of as an excuse to silence [us] as [we] have in the past, intimated on [our] knowledge on the dishonest and corrupt practices by the past administration,” the manifesto stated.
Building 14 is within the Maximum Security Compound of the NBP. Its gate, however is not accessible via the heavily guarded main entrance of the national penitentiary. Its inmates can no longer mingle with the other inmates because its only gate is along the NBP main road leading to the reception and diagnostic center and near the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) museum, formerly the lethal injection chamber.
It has 29 cells measuring 8 square meters each. The building is equipped with CCTV cameras, signal jammers, and its own set of guards.
The building used to be a death chamber for convicts scheduled to die by electric chair. A total of 84 inmates were executed in the building. The last execution took place Oct. 21, 1976.
Then, during the 1980s, it was turned into a disciplinary area for high risk inmates.
The DOJ pushed for the renovation of the building following a raid in 2014 where authorities seized illegal drugs, firearms, cellular phones and other communications gear, cash of different denominations, and expensive appliances.
The raid also led to the temporary transfer of 19 inmates to the NBI detention facility at its headquarters in Manila.
The inmates, through their counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, told Caparas that the transfer is considered discrimination.
“The said inmates wish to stress that they are neither crime lords nor drug lords but were merely labeled as such, or at times ‘high profile inmates’ unceremoniously by the previous leadership of this Department … Such unjustified labeling, and consequently, detention in Building 14 is, thus, the proximate cause of their present predicament,” the letter to Caparas stated.
“It is for the foregoing reasons that the vast powers of your Honorable Office over the NBP are respectfully invoked so that the proper classification and segregation of its inmates may be made in accordance only with just and legal bases, and so that the inmates’ already limited rights may thereby be protected,” the letter further stated.
Building 14 inmates who signed the manifesto were Jaime Patcho, German Agojo, Mario Tan, Jerry Pepino, Engelberto Durano, Rodel Castellano, Tomas Donina, Noel Martinez, Eustaquio Cenita, Herbert Colangco, Jojo Baligad, Clarance Dongail, Rico Caja, Joel Capones, Gilberto Salguero, and Edgar Sayo Cinco. JE/rga