Sleep well, Jun Ele

/ 04:24 AM June 24, 2014

Two doctors and the head guard at New Bilibid Prison (NBP) were dismissed for allegedly giving special treatment to convicted drug lord Ricardo Camata.

The Department of Justice issued the order for their dismissal.


But why was Director Franklin Bucayu of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the big boss in the country’s penal system, not given the boot as well?

Bucayu, a retired police general, reportedly stays in his air-conditioned office inside the NBP compound the whole day without accomplishing anything.


Why was he allowed to remain in his post when Ernesto Diokno, then BuCor director, was dismissed over the special treatment accorded to murder convict Tony Leviste?

Another drug convict being given special treatment under Bucayu’s watch is Amin Boratong, who ran the notorious flea market of illegal drugs in Pasig City, which was raided in 2006.

The NBP is in worst shape with Bucayu at the helm of the prisons bureau. Gang wars resulting in the death of several inmates, as well as the smuggling of alcohol and drugs into prison cells have been reported. Cell phones and prostitutes also find their way inside the maximum security compound.

What’s the difference between Bucayu and Diokno whose only fault was supposedly granting special treatment to Leviste, a fellow Batangueño and former governor of Batangas province?

Diokno neither gave other inmates special treatment nor allowed the smuggling of drugs, alcohol, cell phones and prostitutes into the NBP.

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Should Justice Secretary Leila de Lima decide to recommend Bucayu’s dismissal, she should consider replacing him with a former BuCor insider.


Juanito “Itong” Leopando, who holds a doctorate in criminology, retired from the bureau several years ago with a clean record. He rose from the ranks, starting out as a prison guard and retiring as a superintendent.

The retired police generals who were appointed to head BuCor failed because they didn’t know the mentality of a prisoner.

Leopando would make the grade because he does.

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Speaking of the Pasig illegal drugs flea market known as the shabu “tiangge,” the police official who led the raid that busted the blatant illegal drugs trade has passed on.

Retired Director Marcelo “Jun” Ele, one of the best star-rank officers the Philippine National Police (PNP) has ever had, died of a massive heart attack on Sunday night.

Ele, who was soft-spoken and kept a low profile, was like a brother to me.

He was chosen to lead the raid on the shabu tiangge which was heavily guarded, operating apparently with the blessings of top Pasig officials, because the PNP chief at the time, Art Lomibao, considered him clean.

“Clean” means he was not involved in any “monkey business,” especially illegal drugs.

Ele was a lawyer, helicopter pilot, big motorcycle rider, scuba diver and paratrooper.

He was a Police Officer of the Year awardee several times.

But his highest commendation was the Dangal ng Bayan, the highest award given to an official or employee in the civil service. It’s roughly the equivalent of the military’s Medal of Valor.

Jun Ele loved life; he could be considered a “lady’s man.”

His body lies at the St. Peter’s Memorial Homes on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

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Sleep well, Jun, for you have led an awesome life on earth.

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TAGS: Bureau of Corrections, Ernesto Diokno, Franklin Bucayu, Illegal drugs, Juanito “Itong” Leopando, Marcelo “Jun” Ele, New Bilibid Prison, Prisons, shabu tiangge
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