Bilibid witnesses fear for lives after Espinosa slay
Inmates from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) who testified before the congressional inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the prison now fear for their safety following the death of Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte in Baybay City jail.
Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said his clients have appealed that they be transferred from Building 14 to another facility for better security, especially after the stabbing incident in Building 14 last September that killed fellow high-profile inmate Tony Co.
Their request, however, fell on deaf ears as Topacio said his clients were moved back to Building 14.
Building 14 is a heavily guarded facility inside Bilibid’s Maximum Security Compound. It houses high profile inmates, mostly those convicted for illegal drug trade.
Topacio is the lawyer of eight inmates who submitted affidavits to the Department of Justice and testified before the House of Representatives inquiry implicating Sen. Leila de Lima and other former DOJ and Bureau of Corrections officials in the NBP drug trade. The inmates are Herbert Colanggo, Peter Co, Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad, Noel Martinez, German Agojo, Joel Capones and Jerry Pepino.
He said his clients “have expressed to me their grave concern over the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa while in jail under what can only be termed as highly suspicious circumstances.”
“They said that, now more than ever, they fear for their lives and those of their kin,” the lawyer said in a statement Monday.
“I strongly urge the BuCor to set aside and bureaucratic rigmarole so that the war on drugs may not be sabotaged by adherence to protection of what it perceives to be its fiefdom and its undue emphasis on petty bureaucratic matters,” he appealed.
“The protection of those who have come forward of their own volition to tell the truth about the involvement of certain powerful personalities in the illegal drug trade must take precedence over pride and privilege,” Topacio pointed out.
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