New Bilibid Prison rival gangs agree on ceasefire | Inquirer News
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New Bilibid Prison rival gangs agree on ceasefire

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 04:35 AM March 19, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Rival gangs at the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) agreed on a ceasefire on Tuesday after three stabbing incidents on Monday left two inmates dead and a third wounded.

At the same time, members of the Batang City Jail (BCJ) and Sputnik gangs also submitted a manifesto of understanding and peace following a dialogue with prison officials led by NBP superintendent Fajardo Lansangan. However, the gang leaders denied that the stabbings had anything to do with the rivalry between their groups as they surrendered the members involved in the incidents.

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The first one happened at 8:15 a.m. on Monday when BCJ gang member Nolpe Ladiao, 39, convicted for attempted rape and homicide, was attacked by Sputnik jail gang member and homicide convict Enrico de Asis, 38, at a covered court inside the maximum security compound.

Ladiao was playing volleyball with his fellow gang members when De Asis stabbed him with an ice pick. Ladiao survived while De Asis was arrested.

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Thirty minutes later, Jorge Almo of the Sputnik gang died after he was stabbed while walking to the compound’s Iglesia ni Cristo chapel. His attacker was identified as BCJ member Nelson Irinco who used a 10.5-inch-long improvised blade, Lansangan said.

The NBP official later received word that another stabbing occurred at around the same time Almo was attacked. In the third incident, Sputnik gang member Abbe Cabiltes killed Louie Hirang, a former member of the BCJ and Bicol-Romblon-Masbate gangs.

“[Hirang] was burado, meaning he was no longer branded,” Lansangan said, referring to the tradition among inmates of tattooing their gang affiliations on themselves. “But [Hirang] could have been mistaken for someone still with the BCJ gang. He may have been attacked as a form of revenge,” he added.

The compound was placed on lockdown following the incidents while the inmates’ dormitories were searched for deadly weapons. Later in the day, the BCJ surrendered Irinco to authorities while the Sputnik gang yielded Cabiltes. Prison guards stepped up their patrols while all visits were banned.

But with only one “keeper” assigned to each of the dormitories at the maximum security compound and with the facility now holding around 14,000 inmates, far above its maximum capacity of 6,000 people, Lansangan said his office usually tapped the inmates to police their own ranks.

“We talk to the gang leaders to impose policies and settle agreements [so that] no further violence will break out. I tell them they should be able to have control over their members,” he added.

Peaceful coexistence

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“They assured me that they would coexist peacefully since this wasn’t a gang conflict. We asked them what caused the incidents. They said they did not know although on March 16, De Asis argued with a BCJ member named ‘Jako.’ They said they settled the matter but they were surprised that on March 17, De Asis suddenly stabbed [Ladiao] when he wasn’t the one he had an argument with. It seemed like a personal matter,” Lansangan said.

Almo’s aunt, Evelyn Olesco, who went to the NBP complex on Tuesday to help the victim’s mother, Bernadita, get her son’s body, meanwhile, criticized the BCJ gang. “I hope they just concentrate on serving their time and getting out. They may have been envious of Almo because he was about to complete his sentence,” she said.

According to Olesco, Almo was up for parole this year while he was set to graduate this Friday from a vocational course he took while serving time.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in a briefing with NBP and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials Tuesday, said that charges would be filed against the inmates responsible for the stabbings. She also ordered a thorough investigation to determine if any NBP personnel may be held responsible for the incidents and to prevent future similar incidents.

She also said there were “no indications that the stabbings were rooted in a gang conflict,” adding that these were most likely caused by personal differences between members.

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TAGS: Ceasefire, gang wars, Gangs, New Bilibid Prison, prisoners, stabbing
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