Cash, phones, shabu seized at Bilibid’s ‘most secure’ building
The Special Action Force (SAF) confiscated over P500,000 cash, mobile phones and shabu in what was supposed to be the most secure prison building inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday said in two separate raids, SAF confiscated P413, 370 and P163,000 cash inside Building 14.
Aside from cash, SAF also seized assorted appliances, shabu, several drug paraphernalia, 22 units of mobile phones, 34 units of mobile phone chargers, three pieces of SIM cards, four pieces of 4G pocket WiFi, seven pieces of headsets/earphones, one piece flash drive, one kitchen knife, two rolls of transmission wires, one piece each of booster antenna, hammer and one bundle of cockfighting blades.
Building 14 was supposed to be the most secure area inside NBP. It is within the Maximum Security Compound. Its gate, however, is not accessible via the heavily guarded main entrance of the national penitentiary. Its inmates can no longer mingle with the other inmates because its only gate is along the NBP main road leading to the Reception and Diagnostic Center and near the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Museum, formerly the lethal injection chamber.
It has 29 cells measuring 8 square meters each. The building is equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, signal jammers and its own sets of guards.
The building used to be a death chamber for convicts scheduled to die by electric chair. A total of 84 inmates were executed in the building. The last execution took place on Oct. 21, 1976.
Then, during the 1980s, it was turned into a disciplinary area for high-risk inmates.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), during the time of now Senator Leila de Lima, pushed for its renovation in the wake of the raid in 2014 where authorities seized illegal drugs, firearms, cellular phones and other communications gear, cash of different denomination and expensive appliances.
It originally housed 19 high-profile inmates including Herbert “Ampang” Colangco and Peter Co. Now, Aguirre said 54 inmates are occupying the facility.
Aside from Building 14, SAF also raided other areas of the Bilibid and yielded P970,244 and P66,295 cash, 69 different kinds of knives, 1 piece .38 caliber pistol, 1 piece .38 magazine, 19 rounds .38 12-gauge ammunition, six pieces improvised shotguns, 12 ice picks, 10 other bladed weapons, 10 sacks of batons and bladed objects.
They also seized 152 mobile phone units, 62 pieces mobile phone chargers, six pieces mobile phone batteries, 23 pieces mobile phone motherboards, 10 pieces headsets, nine pieces bluetooth, four units of 4G Pocket WiFi, flash drive, SIM cards and WiFi-router.
Also confiscated were sealed plastic sachets of shabu, one plastic of marijuana and several drug paraphernalias.
SAF also seized 48 sets of television, a karaoke set with sound system, DVDs, jewelries and weighing scales.
Aguirre said surprise raids were also conducted in other penal colonies manned by the BuCor. RAM/rga
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