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Witness tells Senate: Freedom comes with a price tag in Bilibid

/ 11:53 PM September 05, 2019


A law passed in 2013 and implemented a year later has given the opportunity to turn over a new leaf to thousands of prisoners who walked out of state penitentiaries, including New Bilibid Prison (above), after their sentences were reduced for good conduct. —INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–A witness has surfaced in the Senate to testify that a good conduct time allowance “for sale scheme” exists in the New Bilibid Prison.

Yolanda Camelon told the Senate Thursday night that she had paid P50,000 to secure the release of her common-law partner, but the date kept being moved back despite payment of the bribe.

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Camelon identified Major Mabel Bansil and Staff Sgt. Ramoncito Roque as the officers to whom she allegedly gave the payment.

She said it was Bansil who first approached her in February, asking her if she wanted her husband freed through the GCTA law.

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Bansil told her it would cost P50,000 and later introduced her to Roque, who she knew as the chief of the documents section at the Bureau of Corrections.

She was allowed to pay the amount in installment, and she did so, completing the payment in three installments within February.

She made the first payment of P10,000 in Roque’s house with Bansil present. Her next two payments consisted of P20,000 each.

She was told that her husband would walk out of the state penitentiary in March, but this did not take place. She was then told that his release would be done in June, but this was not fulfilled either. Next, she was told it would be in October.

At that point, she said she shut her ears to more promises and demanded to get her money back.

After the issue about the GCTA releases broke out, she decided to come out and spill the beans.

“Nag decide po ako sa sarili ko, sabi ko this is the time na siguro talaga na magsumbong ako dahil ako mismo nabiktima ng GCTA na yan,” she said.

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Roque, who was at the Senate, admitted to seeing Camelon at his house when she came with Bansil.

He said the two insisted that he take the envelope with the money.

But after several days, he decided to look for Camelon and returned the money, telling her that he could not accept the bribe.

The hearing is ongoing as of this posting.

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TAGS: Bucor, Bureau of Corrections, corruption, GCTA, Good Conduct Time Allowance, New Bilibid Prison, Yolanda Camelon
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