Senate expects 4 to 5 new witnesses for BuCor mess probe
MANILA, Philippines — Four to five new witnesses have been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate’s investigation into the alleged corruption in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the new witnesses were covered by seven formal summons that he had signed.
“Mayrong dating inmate, mayrong mga dating BuCor officials,” Sotto said of the witnesses in an interview at the Senate on Wednesday.
The witnesses, he said, are expected to testify on the alleged good conduct time allowance (GCTA)-for-sale scheme and other corruption involving convicted felons and BuCor officials.
The Senate committee on justice chaired by Senator Richard Gordon will resume the probe on the issue on Thursday.
“We expect them to be able to tell everything that has happened in the Bureau of Corrections since before and up to the present. And how we will be able to stop it and how we will be able to build a better penitentiary in the future so that these events will no longer happen,” Sotto said.
Sotto also bared that a person, who informed the wife of former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez’ aborted release, is an inmate inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
“Ang trace nila, galing sa loob. It was a text from an inmate. As a matter of fact, hindi lang text e…Parang hindi accurate ang sinabi ni Mrs. Sanchez, tawag,” the Senate leader said.
During last week’s hearing of the committee, Sanchez’ wife, Elvira, claimed that she only learned about her husband’s impending release through a text message from “somebody” last August 20.
When senators were asking for her cellphone, Sanchez’ wife claimed she already threw it after receiving death threats.
“Hindi ko po tinanggal ang message, ang tinanggal ko po ay sim card ko at binato ko na po ang cellphone ko dahil sa sobrang galit ko na po,” she said.
Sotto then directed the wife to give her phone number to the committee.
Because of public outrage, Sanchez’ release through the GCTA law was aborted.
Neophyte Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, in a separate interview, said he would also present his own witness— a former official–at the resumption of the hearing.
“Malaking witness po ito. Malaking tao po ito. Isang official na handang magsalita ng mga kanyang nalalaman,” Go said.
While he refused to identify his witness, the senator said the former official was privy on the alleged illegal drug trade operation inside the NBP, involving eight drug convicts.
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