DOJ orders parallel NBI probe into Bilibid inmate’s death

Lian Buan
DOJ orders parallel NBI probe into Bilibid inmate’s death

LeAnne Jazul

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II also orders the Bureau of Corrections to submit an initial report on the incident

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate a stabbing incident inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) which led to the death of an inmate.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II signed the department order on Tuesday, July 11 instructing the NBI to conduct a parallel fact-finding investigation into the death of
inmate Efren Ventura which happened on Monday, July 10.

Aguirre also ordered the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to submit an initial report on the incident.

Aguirre and BuCor Director General Benjamin de los Santos have not responded to requests for further information  as of posting.

According to the department order, the stabbing incident occurred “on or about 4:35 pm” on Monday. 

Bilibid issues

This is the second issue related to the state penitentiary to land on the NBI’s plate in recent days. Last week, Aguirre issued a department order directing the NBI to probe the supposed resurgence of the Bilibid drug trade.

Aguirre had floated the resurgence of the illicit trade since early 2017, and even dragged the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) into the issue. Aguirre said in an interview with Rappler in June that he wants soldiers to replace the SAF troops inside Bilibid.

The problem, according to Aguirre, was that some elite cops may be getting “familiarized” with the environment of drugs inside the prison.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa defended his men and said even the SAF want out of Bilibid. Dela Rosa said it’s because SAF does not control the medium and minimum security compounds, where some of the high-profile drug convicts have been moved.

Drug convicts Herbert Colanggo, Engelbert Durano, Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad, and Peter Co are the state  witnesses in the drug charges against detained Senator Leila de Lima.


De los Santos confirmed that Sy, Baligad, and Co are inside the medium security compound, having been transferred there in October 2016 after they were hurt in a riot inside the maximum security compound.

Aguirre said he does not have information yet whether the witnesses against De Lima, whose drug cases were dropped in exchange for their testimonies, were involved in the supposed resurgence of  the Bilibid drug trade.

Colanggo and Durano, meanwhile, are detained in Camp Aguinaldo. –


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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.