Dela Rosa wants to clean up Bureau of Corrections

Mara Cepeda
Dela Rosa wants to clean up Bureau of Corrections
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa says his two mistahs from the Philippine Military Academy will help fix problems at the Bureau of Corrections

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he aims to clean up the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), as President Rodrigo Duterte plans to appoint him as its next chief.

Ahead of his arrival, Dela Rosa said his two mistahs from the Philippine Military Academy will help fix problems at the BuCor.

Dela Rosa told reporters about this on Saturday, December 16, when he visited the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), where his mistahs from PMA’s “Sinagtala” Class of 1986 are deputy directors – retired chief superintendents Valfrie Tabian and Omar Buenafe.

“Well, kaya nga nandito na nauna ‘yong dalawa kong classmates because they will start clearing the way na sana. Hopefully pagdating ko, lighter na lang (Well, the reason why my two classmates went ahead of me here so that hopefully, when I arrive, the load will be lighter),” said Dela Rosa. 

The NBP has long been struggling with the issues of congestion, inadequate facilities, lack of resources, and low staff morale – problems that make the prison a prime environment for illegal activities to thrive. (READ: What ails the BuCor modernization law?

Inmates and prison guards had developed structures to overcome deficits inside the NBP. The lack of personnel led to a system of “mayores,” “coordinator,” and “trustees.” (READ: Why anomalies happen in Bilibid)

“[We need to do] internal cleansing. Yes, of course, because let’s be frank about it, the problem will not persist if there is no connivance with some people from the BuCor, hindi ba (right)?” said Dela Rosa. 

“‘Yong the mere negligence sa kanilang trabaho (Mere negligence in the work), that means collaboration already,” he added.

The top BuCor post has definitely not been spared from controversy. Benjamin de los Santos, the first BuCor chief to be appointed by the Duterte administration, resigned in July after Duterte said there was a resurgence in illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison. 

Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Dionisio Santiago was Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s top pick to replace De Los Santos until Santiago was appointed Dangerous Drugs Board chairman. 

Duterte eventually fired Santiago for negative statements about the mega drug rehabilitation center donated by a Chinese tycoon. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.