Trillanes summons BuCor chief on perks for anti-De Lima inmates at AFP
MANILA — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV moved on Wednesday, to subpoena the chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to get answers on the purported grant of special treatment to high-profile convicts held at Camp Aguinaldo in exchange for testifying against Sen. Leila de Lima on the alleged Bilibid drug
Trillanes made the motion to subpoena BuCor Director General Benjamin delos Santos after the latter missed the Senate hearing on jail reform on Wednesday.
At a committee hearing he chaired, Trillanes noted the absence of Delos Santos, saying he had wanted answers on the latest controversy hounding the BuCor over the alleged perks accorded convicts while jailed at a military custodial facility, including the use of mobile phones, access to internet connection, smart television sets and
“Given the circumstances and developments regarding the BuCor, we will have to subpoena him (Delos Santos),” Trillanes told a hearing of the Senate committee on civil service, government reorganization and professional organization Wednesday afternoon.
The Senate committee chairman said Delos Santos had confirmed his attendance at the committee hearing which tackled the proposed measure that would integrate agencies currently handling jail and corrections,
including the BuCor and the Bureau of jail Management and Penology.
The BuCor chief was seen at the Senate premises when Trillanes’ committee hearing had just started. He was represented at the hearing by BuCor Deputy Director Martin Perfecto.
Sen. Leila de Lima echoed Trillanes and said: “We would have wanted Director General Delos Santos to be here to shed light on the latest issue.”
Trillanes said rumors about the VIP treatment were widely known among officers at the military headquarters.
“Putok na putok ito sa GHQ (This has gone all around the general headquarters). [It is] open knowledge that the Bilibid convicts are being given VIP treatment,” he said, adding that he has remained in the loop on goings-on at the camp, having once served there.
De Lima was the first to reveal the apparent quid pro quo that was purportedly granted by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who exercises supervisory powers over BuCor, for convicts who testified before a House of Representatives hearing on the senator’s alleged involvement in the Bilibid drug trade.
Eight inmates were moved to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in from New Bilibid Prisons in September at the height of the congressional hearings.
A Dec. 9 confidential memorandum by BuCor Legal Office Chief Alvin Herrera Lim, which recounted a Dec. 2 meeting among representatives of the military, the Philippine National Police and BuCor, showed that an AFP investigation found contraband at the convicts’ cells.
Aguirre has, however, denied issuing any order to grant preferential treatment to the convicts. The BuCor has meanwhile relieved jail guards posted at the military facility.
Trillanes, a former Navy official and once detained for mutiny, also invited soldiers who inspected the custodial facility and asked military officials for a copy of the AFP investigation report. SFM
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