De Lima Bilibid ‘asset’ hurt in riot; high-profile inmate killed
High-profile inmate Tony Co, a convicted drug lord, was killed in a riot that ensued inside Building 14, the supposedly most secure area inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Listed in critical condition was another convicted drug lord Peter Co, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
Also wounded was Jaybee Sebastian, a kidnapping-for-ransom convict who allegedly raised funds for Senator Leila de Lima’s candidacy. De Lima said Sebastian was a government asset.
Sebastian, Peter Co, Tony Co and Vicente Sy were taken to the Muntinlupa Medical Center while convicted police officer Clarence Dongail was also injured but opted not to be taken to the hospital because his injury was superficial, said Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) head Rolando Asuncion.
Asuncion, at a press conference said Tony Co was dead on arrival. Sebastian is already stable while Peter Co will undergo surgery.
The riot occurred at about 7:30 a.m., when Dongail confronted Tony Co’s group who were having a “pot session” inside their cell.
“Nagsa-shabu raw itong sina Tony Co, Peter Co at Vicente Sy kaya sinaway sila ni Major Dongail,” Aguirre told Radyo Inquirer. (Tony Co, Peter Co and Vicente Sy were using shabu so Major Dongail accosted them)
“Huwag kayong magsa-shabu pagkat lahat tayo mapapasama rito,” Aguirre quoted Dongail as telling the Chinese inmates. (Don’t use shabu because we will all get in trouble.)
Later, Tony Co reportedly went to the cell of Sebastian and Dongail and attacked the latter with a knife, sparking the riot.
Aguirre said another inmate, Edcar Singco, was the one who reported the shabu session to Dongail.
“Dahil dun nagkagulo na sila,” Aguirre said in a phone interview.
Asuncion said Sebastian claimed that he was stabbed by Tomas Donina. Peter Co, on other hand said he together with Tony Co and Vicente Sy were stabbed by Dongail.
He said they will examine the closed circuit television (CCTV).
Building 14 is currently in a lock down and the entire NBP facility is on full alert.
The Building 14 houses the high profile inmates plucked from the national penitentiary’s Maximum Security Prison after it was discovered that they managed to live in style despite incarceration and continue their illegal activities.
There are 29 cells in the building measuring 8 square meters each. A total of 53 inmates occupy the area. It is equipped with CCTV cameras, signal jammers and own sets of guards.
The building is within the Maximum Security Compound but its gate is not accessible via the heavily guarded main entrance of the national penitentiary. Its gate is along the main road of the New Bilibid Prison leading to the Reception and Diagnostic Center and near the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Museum, formerly the lethal injection chamber.
The building used to be a death chamber for convicts scheduled to die by electric chair. Cruz said a total of 84 inmates were executed in the building. The last execution took place Oct. 21, 1976.
Then, during the 80s, it was turned into a disciplinary area for high risk inmates.
Aguirre said with members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) guarding the facility, he is confident that there are no more illegal drugs that could sneak inside the area.
He, however, admitted that there are probably still hidden drugs inside that the inmates have managed to hide despite series of raids. TVJ
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