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DoJ panel eyes temporary deployment of Army inside NBP

09:24 AM May 27, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DoJ) panel of investigators on the anomalies inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) is looking at the possibility of temporary deployment of Army troops inside the national penitentiary.

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“The NBPs perimeter is very porous and everyone can go in and out of that facility. We are thinking of asking the help of the Philippine Army,” Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, head of the fact finding body said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer’s In Desk’s Corner with Louie Garcia and Willy Matawaran.

Baraan said it is difficult to secure the NBP compound especially the Minimum Security Compound. During a hearing by the panel, NBP Custodian Fortunato Justo said there are 400 inmates accorded living out privileges and 109 with sleep out status.

Under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) scheme, convicts who enjoy “living-out” privileges are allowed to roam the NBP compound during daytime as part of the program to help them reintegrate into society. They, however, have to go back to the minimum security prison during the night.

“Sleep-out” inmates, on the other hand, can spend the night in private but away from their prison cell at the minimum security compound.

“They [prison officials] created their own problem. It’s because of these privileges that it is difficult to secure the NBP,” he added.

Also, Baraan said their recommendations will also identify those that should be held administratively and criminally liable for the escape of former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste who was convicted for killing his long-time aide Rafael Delas Alas.

“We will have findings on all persons that we have investigated, those that appeared before us [including NBP Director Ernesto Diokno]. Our findings will be guided accordingly,”Baraan said.

The DoJ’s fact finding inquiry on the special privileges granted to some inmates was prompted by the arrest of Leviste outside his building in Makati last May 18. Last Saturday (May 21), the DoJ panel conducted an ocular inspection of the premises of the New Bilibid Prisons while the clarificatory hearing were conducted beginning Monday (May 23) up to May 25.

Aside from Baraan, other members of the panel include Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Dacanay and her members are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Emilia Victorio, DOJ State Counsels Wilberto Tolitol and Charlene Mae Tapic, and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Intelligence Services deputy director Ruel Lasala. Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net

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TAGS: BuCor Director Ernesto Diokno, Bureau of Corrections, Department of Justice, former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste, New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Penal system, Prison, VIP inmates
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