‘Prison officials OK’d contraband’
MANILA, Philippines—Documents seized from the so-called VIPs, or “very important prisoners,” during the raid last month at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) showed that the entry of the contraband found in their detention quarters had been authorized and approved by NBP officials.
Among the seized documents was a memorandum from an NBP official dated Oct. 10, 2012, addressed to one of the VIPs who acted as a watch leader of the fire brigade of the building where his cell was located, and granting him certain privileges.
“You are hereby assigned as adviser maximum fire brigade 5 work force with sleep-out privilege,” said the memo from the unnamed jail official. The order was to take effect immediately.
These documents will form part of the evidence in the case buildup being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation against former and current officials of the NBP, according to a source who is privy to the investigation.
Among the documents shown to the Inquirer were requests for the entry of construction workers into the maximum security compound to build the house and music studio of convicted bank robbery gang leader Herbert Colangco.
Passes for trucks carrying construction materials to be used for the Colangco building were also approved and signed by the same NBP officials.
Colango also requested for entry passes for more than 200 people, including local politicians, city hall employees, artists, hair stylists, staff and relatives.
Colangco requested for a daily pass for the whole month of March 2014 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the participants, band members and crew of his musical projects inside the maximum security compound.
He also asked for and was granted permission to bring in fuel for the generators to be used in his musical shows, like “Bilibid Got Talent” and aero dancing contest.
Another set of documents also showed that the VIPs had requested for and been given approval to install air-conditioning units in their quarters.
The VIPs also requested that the ban against the use of electricity during the day be waived on the promise that they would pay for the electricity.
“Respectfully requesting that I be allowed to have daytime electricity at my station. Kindly be informed that the consumption for the daytime electricity passes through a legal meter and will be paid accordingly,” said one of the letter requests.
Last month, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima led a team of NBI and Philippine National Police personnel in two raids and searches of the detention quarters of 20 VIPs, convicted drug criminals who were suspected of continuing to run their illegal drugs businesses from inside the prison.
The raids showed the VIP inmates living luxurious lifestyles in spacious condominium-type quarters, complete with modern conveniences, including a Jacuzzi, air conditioners and a music room. They also yielded millions of pesos in cash, cell phones, shabu, drug paraphernalia, guns, Rolex watches and a sex doll.
The prison quarters that were raided had been occupied by Eugene Chua, Sam Li Chua, Vicente Sy, George Sy, Tony Co, Joel Capones, Herbert Colangco, Peter Co, Amin Imam Boratong, Clarence Dongail, Tom Chua, Rommel Capones, Jojo Baligad, Willy Chua (Cai Shao Ming), Michael Ong, Jacky King, Willy Sy, Noel Martinez, Agojo Y. Dona and Hans Sy Chua.