Surprise raid at NBI prison yields phones, other communication gadgets
It seemed that prohibited items still find their way inside a government-run detention facility allegedly for a hefty price.
On Sunday, a surprise inspection of the detention facility of the National Bureau of Investigation by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and a team from the NBI counter-intelligence division yielded mobile phones, chargers and other communication devices.
De Lima told reporters Monday that the gadgets were discovered under a washing machine used by detainees in two holding areas.
“Yung tip ko kasi, doon daw sa may washing machine; it’s positive. Several cellphones including iPhones nakuha talaga namin doon sa ilalim ng washing machine and several others… marami-raming cellphones yung nakita namin,” De Lima said.
De Lima said an investigation is already being conducted.
Earlier reports pointed to a group called ‘‘Bilibid 19’’ as responsible for sneaking in prohibited items inside the detention facility.
The group is actually composed of 19 inmates from the New Bilibid Prison who were transferred to the NBI detention facility after they were discovered to be living posh lives inside the vast prison compound.
The group allegedly pays around P1.5 million for each mobile phone sneaked in.
But De Lima said that from what they had found, even other inmates in the detention facility were apparently involved. They include pyramiding scam suspects Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co and Jachob “Coco” Rasuman.
Rasuman is facing a string of syndicated estafa cases for allegedly heading a Ponzi scheme in Lanao del Sur.
Co, on the other hand was accused of syndicated estafa along with Aman Futures Group head Manuel Amalilio. He was arrested in 2013.
Earlier, de Lima revealed that one of the “Bilibid 19” identified three NBI personnel who were part of the search as the ones sneaking gadgets to the inmates.
“I will immediately ask [NBI Director Virgilio Mendez] to relieve them from their respective assignments in relation to the detention facility, kung sinuman mga in-charge doon. Imposible na nakakapasok yan na hindi alam ng nagbabantay. They are supposed to be frisking, inspecting all visitors,’’ De Lima said.
She said if those in-charge were doing their job seriously, they would have known that cellphones were being sneaked into the facility. AU
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