MANILA, Philippines – The series of raids at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City since December 2014 failed to stop the illegal drug trade there, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted Monday, January 12.
“We can say that the Bureau of Corrections nowadays is under siege,” De Lima told reporters. “Just earlier today there were log books of drug transactions discovered again and authorities are determining what these transactions really are but what I can confirm initially is they represent drug transactions.”
During the latest raid on Saturday, January 10, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Virgilio Mendez said notebooks with transactions dated as recent as Wednesday, January 7 were found.
Authorities also found up to P700, 000 in cash, sex toys, cellular phones, bladed items and sachets containing alleged illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, 5 inmates who were moved to the NBI on January 10 were transferred back to Bilibid on Monday because the agency’s facility was already full. The 5 inmates were Noel Arnejo, Engelbert Durano, Gianfranco Pasco, Brando Raminez and Joselito Valiente.
Earlier, 18 high-profile inmates were transferred to the NBI facility from the Bilibid prison after a surprise raid exposed the luxurious lifestyle of at least 20 inmates as police found over P1 million in cash, illegal drugs, firearms, flat screen TVs, sex toys, a stripper bar, a jacuzzi and a state-of-the-art recording studio inside the premises.
The inmates were stripped of their visitation rights.
Transferred inmates invoke writ of amparo
One of the inmates moved to the NBI – convicted robbery gang leader Herbert Colanggo – has filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the basis of his transfer.
In a 17-page petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo, Colanggo argued that the items that were discovered in his possession were not contraband.
The writ of amparo is a remedy availed of in cases of illegal detention and arrest.
Colanggo shot to fame after it was revealed that he was able to produce a music video from the recording studio he set up in his detention cell at Bilibid.
“Considering the circumstances surrounding his detention at the NBI Detention Center since December 15, 2014, it is the firm belief of the family of Mr. Colanggo and the undersigned counsel that his life and security are in great danger,” the petition said.
The Court of Appeals (CA) has issued a separate writ of amparo ordering the DOJ to explain the transfer of inmates. The CA released the writ based on the petition filed by Marilou Martinez Raguro, sister of kidnap convict Noel Martinez. – Rappler.com
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