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Rotten to the core

/ 06:17 AM May 12, 2015

Our penal system is rotten to the core, and it looks like it there can only be reforms if all the officers and guards at New Bilibid Prison (NBP), the country’s main prison, are kicked out or transferred to other prison colonies.

Drug manufacturing and trafficking within the walls of the NBP has not stopped even after the raid conducted by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima last year.

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Cellular phones, which are supposed to be banned inside, are used by many inmates as if they were free men.

The cell phones serve as instruments for convicted drug lords to run their respective syndicates by remote control.

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Prostitutes  keep lecherous inmates happy all-day and all-night long.

Alcoholic beverages can be had, albeit for astronomical amounts—as much as P1,500 for a bottle of gin which sells at P50 outside—from prison guards.

Even the food served to inmates is a source of income of  a DOJ official.

Inmates are being milked dry by some  NBP officers and guards who give the loot to certain officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Department of Justice.

The bigger the bribe given to NBP officers and guards, the better and more special treatment an inmate gets from prison authorities.

This is what I gathered while  talking to the common-law wife of an inmate in the NBP’s maximum security section yesterday.

The woman knows what’s happening firsthand inside  NBP because she has a “sari-sari” (general merchandise) store within the prison walls that she set up with her inmate-partner.

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I got goose bumps while listening to her story.

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President Noynoy is shopping around for someone to  replace the incompetent BuCor director, Franklin Bucayu, a retired police general.

There are reports that a retired Army general is being considered for the top BuCor post.

Why doesn’t P-Noy try a former insider, retired Prisons Supt. Juanito Leopando, for the herculean job in cleaning up.

Leopando knows the ins and outs of the NBP and had an unblemished record when he retired.

He served as adviser to BuCor directors who imposed stringent rules at the NBP, like Vicente Vinarao, when he was still in the service.

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Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron has retained his position after he defeated former Mayor Edward Hagedorn in a recall election held last week.

It was an upset victory for the incumbent mayor over Hagedorn who was a three-to-one favorite among the city’s voters.

The support of Palawan Gov. Pepito Alvarez in the last days of the campaign clinched the victory for Bayron.

The city’s business sector, which supported Hagedorn, was no match for Alvarez.

The business sector supported Hagedorn because the city’s tourism industry, which was vibrant during his time, has become a dying business in Bayron’s administration.

Tourism is Puerto Princesa’s main industry.

Bayron’s No. 1 “supporter” was Hagedorn’s own brother, Congressman Douglas, a loudmouth perceived by voters to be abusive and a land-grabber.

Douglas Hagedorn’s pronouncement that he would file a bill in the House of Representatives for the transfer of the provincial capitol to another town incurred the ire of Alvarez.

Douglas allegedly also said that if he would have his way, he would drive out all the Visayans in Puerto Princesa City, alienating Visayan voters who constitute 30 percent of the city’s population.

Actually, Douglas was referring only to Bayron who is from Bohol province.

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TAGS: Bureau of Corrections, DoJ, Lucilo Bayron, New Bilibid Prison, Penal system, Philippines, Prisons, Puerto Princesa, recall election
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