Bantag wants to bring some BJMP officers to BuCor
MANILA, Philippines — New Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag has asked that he be able to bring in with him some of his fellow officers from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to “clean up the mess” in the country’s prisons.
Bantag made the request when he took his oath of office before Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sept. 20.
“The first thing he did was to request the detail or secondment of certain BJMP people whom he can trust to help him at BuCor,” Guevarra said on Sunday.
Guevarra said he would take up Bantag’s request with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año “as soon as possible.”
Bantag was the regional director of the BJMP in Region 4-B (Mimaropa) when President Duterte chose him to replace former Marines officer Nicanor Faeldon in the BuCor.
Mr. Duterte sacked Faeldon on Sept. 4 for allowing hundreds of heinous crime convicts to walk free and for nearly releasing convicted rapist-murderer former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez under the 2013 law on increased good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
Over 2,000 released prisoners have since surrendered due to the President’s threat of their rearrest, leaving the BuCor with its hands full sorting out whether these prisoners deserved to be released for good behavior before fully serving their sentences.
3 urgent objectives
Guevarra said he had asked Bantag to focus on three “urgent” objectives: clean up the GCTA mess; implement full computerization; and stop the illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison.
Bantag has served as jail warden in Manila and Parañaque, where his stints where marred by inmates’ deaths and protests.
In August 2016, he was relieved as warden of the Parañaque City Jail following an explosion that left 10 inmates dead.
He was transferred to the Manila City Jail where two months later, in October 2016, at least 30 inmates were hurt in a riot.
The BuCor runs seven national prisons for convicted prisoners, while the BJMP runs jails for detainees undergoing trial and inmates serving sentences of up to three years.
The BuCor is an attached agency of the Department of Justice while the BJMP is under the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
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