Bucayu says he feared for his life in blocking ‘Oplan Cronus’ | Inquirer News

Bucayu says he feared for his life in blocking ‘Oplan Cronus’

07:40 PM October 06, 2016

Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu with his men during a raid inside the maximum security in National Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa. EDWIN BACASMAS

Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu with his men during a raid inside the maximum security in National Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa.

Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Franklin Bucayu on Thursday said he opposed the aborted police-led raid “Oplan Cronus” for fear of his life and those of his family members.

During the third day of the House of Representatives justice committee inquiry in aid of legislation, Bucayu was asked to clarify the testimony of Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin Magalong, who alleged that Bucayu pleaded Magalong not to pursue the “Oplan Cronus.”


READ: Bucayu pins blame on De Lima for aborted ‘Oplan Cronus’


The Oplan, crafted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at the helm of Magalong, was aborted when it was not given the go-signal by then justice secretary Leila De Lima, who instead led a National Bureau of Investigation raid that exposed the lavish quarters of drug lords inside Bilibid last Dec. 2014.

READ: Police kept out of raid, says high PNP official 

During the interpellation of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo Teves, Magalong backed Bucayu and said he believed Bucayu only feared for his life when Bucayu tried to block Oplan Cronus.

In an earlier hearing, Magalong testified that Bucayu pleaded Magalong not to pursue the Oplan Cronus: “Benjie, mamamatay ako. Delikado ako diyan (Benjie, I am going to die for that).”

Magalong said it was only natural for Bucayu to fear for his life because there was an instance a BuCor official was killed by members of drug syndicates.

“Na-sense ko na kinakabahan siya sa safety ng family niya at safety ng sarili niya (I sensed that he’s fearing for the safety of his and his family’s life). May isang instance an official of the BuCor was killed just outside the penitentiary, outside the colony ng drug syndicate,” Magalong said.


Bucayu said he was only human to also fear for his life.

“Ako ay tao lamang. Nag-a-alala rin po na (I am only human. I am worried that ) I’m under threat sa mga unknown people,” he said.

Bucayu said he also feared of a bloody confrontation that would ensue if the CIDG would raid the Bilibid, long ruled by influential gang leaders

“As in other operations, we have to know the terrain, kung ano yung mga pupuntahan natin, kasi po yung kaninang sinasabi ko ‘yun pong maximum security compound is composed of 14,000 inmates na unrestrained, naglalakad sa loob, 13 gangs ang nasa loob, ang ang kukunin nilang tao ay hindi ordinary, these are influential leaders,” Bucayu said.

“Ang resulta nito kung hindi i-pa-plano, magkakaroon ng bloody confronation,” Bucayu added.

However, the Dec. 2014 raid led by De Lima spared her alleged favored drug lord Jaybee Sebastian, who inmates alleged raised campaign funds for De Lima through the drug trade.

READ: Solons raise eyebrows over De Lima’s NBP raid sparing Sebastian

Bucayu maintained that all the allegations pinning him on the drug trade were lies.

“As far as I’m concerned, dun po sa sinasabi nila sa akin, ay wala pong katotohanan,” Bucayu said.

READ: Bilibid gang leaders further link De Lima to drug trade

In an earlier hearing, murder convict Jojo Baligad said Bucayu received P1.7 million as “tara” for allowing the proliferation of drugs inside the Bilibid.

Baligad said he also paid a weekly “tara” to officials in the Bilibid namely National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director General and then Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos, and a certain Col. Elie from Bucayo’s office.

Bucayu denied receiving a single centavo, or giving authority to Col. Elie to receive drug “tara” on his behalf.

READ: Ex-BuCor chief: I didn’t get a single centavo in NBP ‘drug trade’

“Hindi ko siya binigyan ng authority at wala akong tinanggap na single centavo,” Bucayu said of the certain Elie.

In his affidavit, Baligad listed his following transactions:

January 2013 (first week) – P100,000 to Kumander Poy

January 2013 (second week)  – P100,000 to Poy

January 2013 (last week) – P200,000 to inmate Hebert Colangco

February 2013 (first or second week) – P200,000 to Colangco

June to September 2014 – P1.5 million to Colanggo

May 2014 – 50,000 to Col. Elly

June 2014 – 50,000 to Col. Elly

July 2014 – 100,000 to Col. Elly

Aug 2014 – P100,000 to Col. Elly

October 2013 to April 2014 – P1.4 million to a certain “Sir Eugene”

Baligad also testified that De Lima received P1.5 million from the drug trade led by robbery convict Herbert Colanggo.

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READ: De Lima received P1.5M drug payola from Colanggo–murder convict 

TAGS: Bucayu, House of Representatives, Oplan Cronus

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