‘Alcatraz’ for drug lords pushed
Of the country’s 7,107 islands, one can have a special purpose.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III said he would start his stint in the 17th Congress by reviving his proposal to have an “Alcatraz-style” prison island for convicted drug traffickers, who could allegedly still run their lucrative business from the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.
Sotto on Wednesday said he would refile his Senate Bill No. 3326 on July 1. The bill calls for the segregation of so-called VIP prisoners, who would otherwise be sent to the lethal injection chamber if the country is still imposing capital punishment.
If passed, he said, the bill would do away with the need to reimpose the death penalty on high-level drug lords, as being espoused by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa Senado forum, Sotto said the proposal to reimpose the death penalty would not be retroactive and thus not applicable to convicted drug lords who continue to find ways to operate behind bars.
Even if there was optimism that the Senate measure might be passed in three to five months, Sotto said there was no assurance that the death penalty would be implemented because some groups would likely challenge it in the Supreme Court.
Still, he said, he intended to refile his bill in order to stop the continued operations of the drug convicts.
“Segregation is allowed by the Constitution,” Sotto said. “If you segregate (high-level drug convicts) and establish a national penitentiary for high-level drug crimes, this will be more restrictive as they will be confined in one place and they can be watched closely.”
“If they are confined in a rocky island in Palawan… Alcatraz-style, they cannot operate anymore. There will be no phones, no cell sites.”
This would be a big change from their current condition at New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, which is also coping with overcrowding and “where a lot of things are happening,” he said.
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