Pangilinan: Transfer of 10 convicts may be ‘a reward’ for testifying vs De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — The transfer of 10 high-risk detainees in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City to the Marine barracks in Taguig City could be a reward for testifying against Senator Leila de Lima, an opposition senator said Friday.
Senator Francis Pangilinan made the remark as Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier defended the transfer of the top-level convicts, saying it was not special treatment since it was for security reasons.
“More than a case of special treatment, one can’t help but wonder if this is part of the reward the convicts are receiving for weaving stories and testifying against Senator Leila de Lima,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
Pangilinan was also wary that the convict-witnesses could be given early freedom.
“We might wake up one day to reports that they have been released, while Sen. De Lima remains incarcerated for a crime she never committed,” he said.
De Lima is currently detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City due to drug charges.
The senator then dismissed Guevarra’s justification of the criminals’ transfer from Bilibid to the Philippine Marines compound, saying it merely proved the inability of NBP to protect prisoners.
“The explanation of Justice Secretary Guevarra that the transfer was for security reasons is a virtual admission of the inability of our prison system to safeguard inmates,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan pointed out that the 10 high-profile criminals were already inside NBP’s maximum security compound, which should be “heavily guarded and imposed with strictest security measures.” /kga
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