DOJ: BuCor asks COA to audit anomalies in Bilibid excavation | Inquirer News

DOJ: BuCor asks COA to audit anomalies in Bilibid excavation

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 11:05 AM November 21, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Corrections has already requested the Commission on Audit (COA) to look into the issues surrounding the agency, especially amid the controversial excavation at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

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Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Monday that BuCor acting chief Gregorio Catapang has formally sent a request letter to conduct an audit on the issues surrounding the corrections bureau previously headed by suspended chief Gerald Bantag.

He said COA will form a special audit team once they receive the request letter.

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“Pinapatrabaho na ni acting Director General Catapang. ‘Yang bagay na ‘yan pinatitingnan niya sapagkat may problema talaga tayo diyan sa mga ginastos na pera tungkol dito,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN’s TeleRadyo.

(Catapang is already working on that. He asked them to look into it because we do have a problem with the expenses of BuCor regarding that.)

“May request letter na si acting Director General Catapang sa bagay na ito at basta nakuha ng COA ‘yan ay gagawa sila ng special audit team para tingnan itong mga nangyayaring ito,” Remulla added.

(Catapang already wrote a request letter and once the COA receives it, they will form a special audit team to look into the issue.)

Remulla noted that BuCor has the second-largest budget under the Department of Justice, following the National Prosecutor’s Office.

He said the investigating authorities are currently finishing up its report before the DOJ can file cases against those involved in the excavation.

READ: Bantag’s ‘pool’ project in Bilibid surprises DOJ

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Remulla also pointed out that former Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who now serves as the Solicitor General, had previously rejected the excavation project, which was allegedly for treasure hunting.

The BuCor under Bantag entered into a memorandum of agreement and a joint venture deal with Agua Tierra Oro Mina Development or ATOM Corporation for the project that would supposedly decongest the NBP and earn revenues for the agency.

Under the deal, ATOM Corporation would donate 234 hectares of land to BuCor and put up buildings to relocate 28,000 persons deprived of liberty or inmates of the NBP.

In return, the company will develop the 375-hectare NBP Reservation in Muntinlupa City into a commercial, residential and industrial area.

Remulla said the project was not approved by his predecessor, adding that former President Rodrigo Duterte was even invited to the groundbreaking ceremony but he did not attend upon learning that it was not approved.

READ: BuCor officials discover ‘tunnel’ but unsure what it is for

“‘Yan ay hindi approved ni Secretary Guevarra. Sinubukan nilang dalhin ang Pangulong Duterte diyan na mag-groundbreaking. Nalaman ng Presidential Management Staff na wala itong permiso, wala itong clearances, hindi dumaan sa proseso. Hindi na nila pinapunta si Pangulong Duterte sa groundbreaking ceremony nito,” the Justice chief said.

(That was not approved by Guevarra. They even attempted to invite Duterte to the groundbreaking but he did not attend after the Presidential Management Staff learned that the project had no approval and no clearances.)

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TAGS: Bilibid, Bucor, COA
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