Bribes to NBI? De Lima orders probe into Bilibid king’s claims

NBI RAID. Bureau of Correction trainees help NBI agents carry the confiscated appliances from the VIP's inmate cell inside the New Bilibib Prison in Muntinlupa. Photo by Joel Leporada/Rappler

NBI RAID. Bureau of Correction trainees help NBI agents carry the confiscated appliances from the VIP's inmate cell inside the New Bilibib Prison in Muntinlupa.

Photo by Joel Leporada/Rappler

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters on Thursday, June 11, about the claim of Clarence Dongail, who said that an NBI official is receiving P1.5 million from the inmates for each mobile phone sneaked into the detention facility at NBI's headquarters in Manila.

De Lima said she had ordered the NBI to investigate these allegations.

She said Dongail named 3 to 4 NBI custodians who, she believes, may have been taking orders from an NBI official. “One or two of them are part of the searching team and another one was supervising them,” she said.

“Now this informant inmate is telling us...that the searching team themselves are the ones who are leaving the cellphones inside the detention cells. We will try to find out if this true during the investigation,” she continued.

Dongail, a former policeman convicted for kidnapping and murder, is
now under the DOJ's Witness Protection Program following his claims,
said De Lima.

Among those the probers will look into is the security arrangements at the detention facility, said De Lima.

“Technically and strictly, the security of the high-profile inmates is the obligation of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), and NBI is just their support. But since they are physically housed in the NBI, I've instructed them to regularly search and inspect their detention cells,” De Lima said. “I just assume that the NBI and BuCor were
together in searching the visitors of inmates.”

A recent surprise inspection inside the NBI detention facility revealed that cellphones were concealed, among others, inside a compartment of a water cooler and at the bottom of a cooking utensil, as well as underneath pairs of footwear from the inmates' visitors.

The NBI intensified its security measures since then.

Dongail and 18 other "high-profile" and high-risk" inmates were transferred to the NBI headquarters from the Bilibid in December 2014, following a raid which revealed their lavish lifestyles inside their cells. The raiding team also found things that are not allowed inside the Bilibid, as well as illegal drugs, a Jacuzzi spread, and sex toys.
(READ: IN PHOTOS: Drug lords, murderers, and high living in Bilibid)

NBI director Virgilio Mendez, in a separate text message, said that Deputy Director for Intelligence Services Jose Doloiras has been assigned to look into these “serious allegations.”

However, Mendez made an appeal to the public to not quickly pass judgement on the NBI following Dongail's claims.

He explained that BuCor guards thoroughly inspect visitors and even NBI agents before they could enter the NBI detention facility. Mendez added that the jail is an extension facility of BuCor.

De Lima has also instructed the Bucor to finish as soon as possible the renovation of “Building 14” in the NBP, where the high-profile inmates will be jailed upon their return to the national penitentiary. – Rappler.com