MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the alleged sale of hospital passes inside the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor)’s New Bilibid Prison.
“The NBI, through Director Dante Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation and case buildup,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in his Dapartment Order No. 479.
The probe is set to determine the alleged illegal practice of transferring prisoners to the New Bilibid Prison Hospital after they paid BuCor officers millions of pesos. (READ: With smuggled phones, drug lords ‘still control operations’ from Bilibid)
DOJ directs NBI to conduct an investigation into the allegation that even hospital passes are being sold to convicts inside Bilibid @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/WBOBmhqAz0— Lian Buan (@lianbuan) September 10, 2019
Why the probe? After the “good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for sale” scheme, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said that high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison have been taking advantage of hospital confinement to control drug operations outside the national penitentiary.
In a media interview on Tuesday, September 10, Go said that an informant told him about inmates who cough up money to use hospital facilities even though they’re not sick.
“Most of these illegal drug transactions take place [at] Medical Ward 3, Medical Annex, Building 14 and it involves several personalities. About 8 of them. Illegal drug trade continues in NBP with the hospital as the new venue for transactions,” Go told reporters.
Asked whether the inmates are in cahoots with the prison hospital doctors, Go replied in the affirmative.
“Kakuntsaba nila ang ospital. Oo, [ng mga doktor], kung wala naman silang sakit tapos iko-confine sila? (They are conniving with the hospital. Yes, with the doctors, if they are not sick then why are they being confined?)” Go said.
While Go said that he could not divulge the names of these inmates, he said that he had furnished a copy of the report to the President and the DOJ.
In a separate interview, Senator Panfilo Lacson said that his office received reports that prison doctors are being paid millions for this scheme.
“There are reports natanggap namin sa opisina, nag-range from P200,000 to even P2 million para ma-confine or ma-admit sa hospital. And meron pang board and lodging amounting to P30,000 a day. Hindi mangyayari ‘yan kung walang magse-certify na doctor,” Lacson claimed.
(There are reports that our office received, that the payment to be confined at or admitted to the hospital ranges from P200,000 to P2 million. And there’s even board and lodging amounting to P30,000 a day. That won’t happen without a doctor certifying it.)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that this scheme will be taken up as part of the future Senate hearings on prison reform.
The next hearing on the “GCTA for sale” scheme will be on Thursday, September 12. – Rappler.com
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