Tulfo wants ‘top-to-bottom’ probe of BuCor personnel to stop entry of contraband
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Raffy Tulfo has called for a “top-to-bottom investigation” of the personnel of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and their offices to find out how contraband items are “persistently” being smuggled into the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
The senator said he also wants the current practice of “Sim Card for Rent” inside NBP investigated and stopped.
Tulfo made the call on Wednesday after learning from the sister of NBP inmate Cristito Villamor Palaña (previously identified as Crisanto or Jun Villamor) that he had access to a mobile device while in prison.
Palaña was one of two alleged middlemen in the October 3 killing of hard-hitting broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa.
According to Tulfo, killings and other crimes could be prevented by blocking the entry of contraband items especially cellphones which he said “are used to communicate with the outside world.”
“Maliban sa pagsasagawa ng regular search sa mga kubol ng inmates, dapat ay gumagawa din ng regular search sa mga opisina ng kawani ng BuCor dahil hindi naman maipapasok ang mga kotrabadando sa loob ng Bilibid, katulad ng cellphones at droga, kung walang sabwatan ang mga kawani at inmates nito,” he said in a statement.
(Aside from conducting a regular search on inmates’ kubol (makeshift dwelling), there should also be a regular search in the offices and personnel of BuCor because the entry of contrabands like cellphones and illegal drugs into the Bilibid could not happen without the participation of its personnel and inmates.)
To ensure prevention of entry of illegal items inside the national penitentiary, Tulfo suggested the following:
- Use of x-ray screening device or hiring of trained dogs to detect contrabands
- Strict and thorough body search of all BuCor employees—from high-ranking officials to low ranking officials entering NBP—by outside security personnel, which must be routinely replaced
- Strict screening of all the materials and goods delivered inside the stores in NBP, which are also allegedly being used to bring in contrabands.
“Dapat ding magsagawa ng lifestyle check sa mga kawani ng ahensya para matigil ang malawakang korapsyon sa loob ng bilangguan,” the senator said.
(A lifestyle check on the agency’s personnel must also be conducted to put an end to this rampant corruption inside the prison.)
“Ang iba kasi diyan, motor ang minamaneho pero all of a sudden, makikita mo na magandang kotse na ang gamit; o di kaya ay dati nangungupahan lang ngunit di magtatagal ay nakatira na sa isang magandang condo unit,” Tulfo added.
(We see some of them driving a motor[cycle] but all of a sudden, you’d see them driving a car; Or they were renting a house before but are now living in a beautiful condo unit)
The senator recalled that in his interview on his radio program, Palaña’s sister confirmed that her brother’s mobile phone was bought for P10,000 from a person inside the prison.
In 2019, an inmate already exposed in Senate hearing that bringing a mobile phone or a television inside the NBP could only cost P500 to P1,000.