DOJ: Bilibid docs may be next on chopping block
A Department of Justice (DOJ) official has recommended the relief of some doctors at New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City over their “emergency referrals” that enabled moneyed or high-profile inmates to stay in private hospitals for several days.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Friday confirmed that Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, who is investigating the alleged VIP treatment given to some convicts, had found irregularities in these referrals which were issued without first notifying and securing clearance from the DOJ.
“There is a recommendation in (Baraan’s) initial report to relieve doctors (of their posts) in the NBP hospital, about a couple of them responsible for issuing so-called emergency referrals. In the eyes of Undersecretary Baraan, (there was) really no emergency, therefore they should have sought prior approval from me,” De Lima told reporters.
But the secretary said she was still studying Baraan’s recommendations and that she would create a fact-finding committee to expand the scope of the investigation.
“(Baraan’s) initial report should serve as a very good starting point for the expanded probe. We’re going to have an honest-to-goodness, serious and expanded probe into this whole thing,” she said.
“[These reports of convicts] being let out are very suspicious, especially since most of them, I think, are high-profile and believed to be moneyed drug inmates,” she added.
Among the prisoners found to have been allowed to go to private hospitals were convicted bank robbery gang leader Herbert Colangco, who was referred to Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa City; convicted drug lord Amin Buratong, who was taken to Medical City in Pasig City; and Ricardo Camata, another convicted drug lord and leader of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik prison gang, who was brought to Metropolitan Hospital in Tondo, Manila.
Citing security camera footage, Baraan said Camata was allowed to receive female visitors and use his cell phone during his stay at the hospital. NBP Supt. Fajardo Lansangan and 12 guards were later relieved of their posts following this discovery.
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