Ombudsman suspends 27 BuCor officials in freedom-for-sale scandal
Updated @ 11:09 p.m., Sept. 9, 2019
MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman suspended 27 Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials for six months as they faced grave misconduct cases for the release of heinous crime convicts using the now controversial good conduct time allowance.
An order signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Monday, Sept. 9, listed those suspended as BuCor officials Chief Supt. Gerardo Padilla, Senior Supt. Celso Bravo, SPO2 Ramoncito Roque and 24 others.
Roque is officer-in-charge of Inmate Documents and Processing Service, who had been accused of taking part in a scheme to bilk inmates’ relatives in exchange for early release through good conduct time computations.
The Ombudsman order said the BuCor officials were being suspended in connection with an investigation that the anti-graft body was conducting into “the alleged anomalous release of prison convicts.”
It said the Ombudsman “finds that the evidence in the form of testimonies of witnesses and public documents” pointing to irregularities in the release of prisoners “appear to be strong.”
Other suspended officials include:
- Insp. Benjamin Barrios (supervisor, Maximum Security Camp)
- PSII Francisco Abunales (NBP superintendent)
- Senior Supt. Melencio Faustino (regional superintendent, Davao Prison and Penal Farm)
- CTO3 Cherry Caliston (Documents Division chief, Davao Penal Farm)
- Ruelito Pulmano (liason officer)
- Insp. Emerita Aguilar (chief, Reformation and Rehabilitation Office)
- Insp. Raymund Peneyra (chief overseer, Maximum Security Compound Chief)
- CO1 Jomar Coria (NBP South Reformation Coordinator)
- Insp. Roy Vivo (Chief of Guards, Maximum Security Compound)
- Senior Supt. Wilfredo Bayona (deputy superintendent, NBP South)
- CO3 John Edward Basi (assistant chief, Reformation and Rehabilitation Office, NBP Maximum Security Compound)
- Insp. Abel Ciruela (COG, Maximum Security Compound)
- Insp. Roger Boncales (DSO-NBP North)
- PGII Eduardo Cabuhat (OIC, Training and Education Office)
- Dr. Ma. Lourdes Razon (OIC, Medical and Dental Office)
- Mary Lou Arbatin (chief, Behavior Modification Office)
- Susana Ortega (OIC, Prison Industry Office, Maximum Security Compound)
- PGIII Anthony Nupable Omega (OIC, Sports and Recreation Office, Maximum Security Compound)
- PGII Antonio Calumpit (OIC, Overseer, Maximum Security Compound)
- Supt. Roberto Rabo (superintendent, NBP)
- Insp. Jones Lanuza (deputy superintendent for reformation, NBP)
- SO1 Victor de Monteverde (chief, Alternative Learning System, Maximum Security Compound)
- Maribel Bancil (Correctional Senior Inspector, NBP)
- Veronica Buño, (Custodial Officer, NBP)
Aside from the grave misconduct raps, the above-mentioned officials will also face complaints for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, which may eventually result in their removal from office.
The Ombudsman investigation came after President Rodrigo Duterte himself ordered it in the wake of revelations that 1,914 heinous crime convicts were among more than 22,000 inmates released by the BuCor, under Republic Act No. 10592.
Among the inmates to be released was rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, who is serving at least 200 years in jail for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez, both UP Los Banos students, and the murders of two political foes.
Sacked BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon had confirmed that Sanchez was among those set to be released, which stirred public outrage.
The President sacked Faeldon and ordered the released 1,914 criminals to surrender.
The President, however, continued to praise Faeldon as an “upright man” generating criticism from the opposition and families of crime victims.
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