Guevarra to Bato: Destroy drug trade in Bilibid

MANILAJustice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said his sole marching order to newly-appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa is to weed out illegal activities, especially illegal drug trade, inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

"There will be only one marching order for Chief dela Rosa: Destroy the drug machinery inside the penitentiary," Guevara said in a text message sent to Philippine News Agency.

Guevarra made the remarks following reports that illegal drugs continue to proliferate inside the country's national top penitentiary.

Guevara said he is set to meet dela Rosa on Friday to discuss plans at the BuCor.

BuCor is one of the agencies under DOJ, which also include the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Land Registration Authority (LRA).

On Monday, dela Rosa, former Philippine National Police chief, asked for the cooperation of BuCor officials and employees to accomplish this task.

He also called on BuCor officials and employees to do what is right as he plans to institute the necessary reforms in the agency and also not to be afraid of inmates, especially the high-profile inmates who wield influence inside the NBP.

Dela Rosa, meanwhile, warned high-profile inmates in the NBP, that he will be relentless in going after those who continue their illegal activities inside the national penitentiary.

He made the remarks during his visit to the high-profile inmates in Building 14 of the NBP's maximum security compound.

Among the high-profile inmates currently detained in Building 14 are convicted drug lord Peter Co and kidnapper Jayvee Sebastian.

During the watch of then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, he assigned Special Action Force (SAF) Members inside the NBP to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs.

It was reported that illegal drugs continue to proliferate despite the designation of 400 SAF troopers in July 2016, after receiving intelligence reports that high-profile inmates continue to run illegal drug operations there using cellphones.

Former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima was charged and indicted for the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP.

There were hearings conducted in the Senate and the House of Representatives with sworn affidavits and testimonies of several officials led by National Bureau of Investigation deputy director Rafael Ragos and several high-profile inmates led by robbery convict Herbert Colanggo.

De Lima is accused of receiving around PHP10 million in drug payoffs from November 2012 to early 2013 through her co-accused, former BuCor officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos.

The former justice secretary was arrested last Feb. 24 upon warrant issued by Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero.

She is currently detained at the PNP custodial center in Camp Crame. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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