Never again should Bilibid inmates abuse – Remulla
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla declared an end to the era of inmate abuse as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gregorio Catapang Jr. is set on a mission to scrub clean the country’s prison and penal colonies.
Capatang’s appointment paper was released last Friday, five months after being designated as the agency’s officer-in-charge.
He took over as head of BuCor after Gerald Bantag was suspended after being tagged in the killing of broadcaster Percival Mabasa or Percy Lapid and Bilibid inmate Jun Villamor, the alleged contact of Joel Escorial, the confessed gunman.
“I had given him the same marching orders when he was designated as acting BuCor director general to help us clean up the jails and make jails more functional. To make it more humane to our PDLs ((persons deprived of liberty). That is our commitment and obligation to the law,” Remulla told reporters.
“I don’t want any abuse to happen again. I think that we can make things more humane so that we can have a better system of law and order,” he added.
Aside from the New Bilibid Prison, BuCor also operates six other penal colonies–Davao Prison and Penal Farm, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, Leyte Regional Prison and the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.
All the penal institutions are experiencing overcrowding. Remulla said the prison facilities had an inmate population of over 50,000 as of January, although the total capacity is only 12,000.
Since last year, the DOJ, BuCor, Board of Pardons and Parole, and the Public Attorneys’ Office have been cleaning out records of PDLs to determine who is already qualified for release.
BuCor showed that 4,994 prisoners or PDLs have already been released under the program.