DOJ orders ‘Bilibid 19’ transfer
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday directed the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to return to the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) maximum security compound some of the so-called “Bilibid 19” inmates who had linked detained Sen. Leila de Lima to the drug trade.
At the same time, he ordered the BuCor to first seek his permission before transferring drug convicts and other high-profile inmates from the maximum security compound to other detention cells at the national penitentiary.
Aguirre issued Department Order No. 496 two weeks after he admitted that drug syndicates had resumed their illegal activities inside the NBP.
The resurgence of the drug trade within the state penitentiary prompted BuCor Director General Benjamin delos Santos, a lawyer and retired police chief superintendent, to resign on July 13.
“The order takes effect immediately and shall remain in force until further orders,” Aguirre said.
The order, however, did not identify the inmates who were previously transferred from the tightly guarded maximum security compound to the medium security area, a detention facility for convicted criminals serving time for less serious offenses.
Among those who were previously transferred to the medium security compound were convicts Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad and Peter Co, who had testified against De Lima during the House inquiry on the illegal drug trade at the NBP.
Their statements were used by the Department of Justice to indict the senator who has been detained at Camp Crame since February for drug trafficking.
At the same time, Aguirre ordered BuCor officer in charge Rey Raagas to review all past transfers of NBP inmates and to submit within 10 days a report on the actions taken in compliance with his order.
The report should contain the “list and inventory of inmates who were previously transferred to another detention facility within the NBP, including the reason for such transfer, the date when the inmate was transferred, the original detention facility [in] which they were originally detained/confined, and the detention facility to which they were transferred.”
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