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Witness: NBP Medical ward used as drug trade ‘communications center’

/ 07:44 PM September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — A ward in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) hospital was supposedly being used as a “communications center” for illegal drug activities of certain high-profile inmates.

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This was revealed Thursday by a witness testifying before a Senate investigation that opened more alleged schemes of corruption at the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and national penitentiary.

Inmate Jose Galario, a former mayor in Bukidnon and also a retired senior police officer, told a Senate panel that some drug lords feigning sickness were able to stay for several months in the NBP infirmary where they allegedly conduct their illegal drug activities.

Galario said those drug lords pay a “considerable amount” to medical officer Ursicio Cenas, to be able to prolong their stay at NBP hospital.

“‘Yung information na nakukuha ko do’n. From Building 14, you will be admitted for a longer time by paying some considerable amount to Dr. Cenas,” Galario told the Senate justice committee.

Building 14 houses NBP’s medical wards.

Galario also claimed that a drug lord could bring in three to five other prisoners with him to help in supposed drug transactions inside the hospital.

“Isang drug lord, magdala ng mga tatlo o apat o lima na mga preso, kunwari na merong sakit. So, package deal… Example with ‘Buwaya,’ dala siya ng apat o lima… ibigay dun sa doktor at ang doktor na ang bahala sa admission,” he added.

Galario said “Boy Buwaya” was admitted to the NBP hospital for around six months.

According to Galario, “Boy Buwaya” used NBP’s Medical Ward 3 as a “communications center” to conduct his “business activities” and that other transactions are “being held at the office of Dr. Cenas.”

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“Sa labas ang drugs galing, pero ang instructions ng financiers, sa loob mismo galing,” he said.

But Cenas, who also attended Thursday’s hearing, denied Galario’s allegations.

Galario likewise alleged that “Boy Buwaya” has a relationship with Meryl Benitez, a nursing attendant at the NBP hospital.

“I believe that Benitez is one of the couriers of drugs for the person of ‘Boy Buwaya’,” he said.

Benitez also denied the allegations. /kga

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TAGS: Bucor, Bureau of Corrections, corruption, Drug Trade, Illegal drugs, investigation, Local news, Nation, national news, New Bilibid Prison, news, Philippine news updates, Prison, Senate
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