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Senate panel cites 3 BuCor officials in contempt

/ 03:58 PM September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate justice and human rights committee on Thursday cited for contempt three Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials for evading questions from senators.

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The Senate committee, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, was investigating the alleged irregularities within the BuCor.

Cited for contempt are BuCor legal chief Frederic Anthony Santos, BuCor records division head Ramoncito Roque, and Ursicio Cenas, medical officer at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) hospital.

Santos and Roque were among those slapped with a six-month preventive suspension in the wake of controversies surrounding the early release of heinous crime convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

READ: Ombudsman suspends 27 BuCor officials in freedom-for-sale scandal  | Ombudsman suspends 3 more BuCor execs as probe into GCTA mess continues

Santos, according to Gordon, repeatedly evaded his earlier questions regarding the GCTA.

“You keep evading and evading and evading, I warned you about it. What is your answer now?,” Gordon asked Santos.

“Confused lang po siguro sa tanong, dahil masakit na rin po ang ulo ko, stressed na po kami, ‘di po kami nakakatulog, pasensya na po, your honor,” Santos answered.

Roque had been accused of taking part in a scheme to bilk inmates’ relatives in exchange for early release through good conduct time computations.

Meanwhile, Cenas was accused of allegedly receiving bribes in exchange for medical records and allowing inmates feigning sickness to be admitted at the NBP hospital.

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READ: Convicted mayor links Bilibid doctor to corruption

Cenas denied the allegations but he failed to convince the senators.

“I just hope the committee can do something about resource persons lying to our faces, obviously lying,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said.

Following the explanation from the three officials, Gordon still ordered their immediate confinement at the Senate.

“Because of the contempt motion that has been unanimously approved without objection, the chair orders the confinement of the three individuals until they are able to satisfactorily explain to the Senate why they’re needed of confinement under contempt should be discontinued,” Gordon said.

According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, it was “about time the committee put its foot down on these people.” 

“‘Di makasagot nang diretso. Parang we are being lied to each time we conduct a hearing. It’s about time the committee put its foot down on these people. Kung hindi, paglalaruan lang ang aming committee hearings,” Lacson told reporters after the hearing. /je

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TAGS: Contempt, GCTA, Gordon, investigation, latest news, Senate
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