BuCor ‘raw’ report on tragic Bilibid riot stumps DOJ chief
MANILA, Philippines – Four days after a riot inside the New Bilibid Prison left nine inmates dead, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is wondering how such a violent incident could happen and why the prison guard failed to prevent it.
The riot last Friday started at 2:30 am and was contained only an hour after.
Guevarra immediately asked the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) that supervises Bilibid and six other penal institutions to immediately submit to him a report. The report, he said was “rather raw” and he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation.
The DOJ chief said the initial report given to him after the incident “merely described what happened.”
“What I want to know is how such a violent incident could happen in the wee hours of the morning and last for hours, and why the prison authorities failed to detect and prevent such a huge gang war that left many inmates dead or injured,” he said.
BuCor was a constituent bureau under DOJ. However, Republic Act 10575 or the BuCor Act of 2013 made the controversial office a line agency of the DOJ. Since its passage, the DOJ can only exercise administrative supervision over BuCor instead of controlling it.
Just last year, the Senate conducted an investigation and uncovered anomalies surrounding the computation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA). The legal officer that testified before the Senate was killed early this year.
During the pandemic, nine high profile inmates die of COVID-19 including Jaybee Sebastian, a key person in the prison drug trade.
Last Friday’s riot, based on a report given to INQUIRER.net, showed that it was a retaliation by members of Sigue Sigue Sputnik after their companions were killed. One of the fatalities was beheaded.
Also on Oct. 9, an insider said high profile inmate tagged in last month’s drug haul in Cebu City died of a heart attack. Prison officials have yet to comment on the matter.
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