New Bilibid Prison

9 convicts found dead after gang brawl in Bilibid

Lian Buan
9 convicts found dead after gang brawl in Bilibid
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered an investigation and wants the report submitted 'asap'

Nine convicts were found dead after two gangs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) engaged in a brawl early Friday morning, October 9.

“The riot incident started at about 2:30 am, this day, the incident was pacified at about 4 am same day. Accordingly, 9 died [in] that incident,” the Southern Police District (SPD) said in a report.

Bureau of Correction (BuCor) Spokesman Gabriel Chaclag confirmed to reporters that 9 were found dead after the brawl, but he didn’t want to categorically say if all the deaths were due to the riot.

Several convicts were hurt during the scuffle but Chaclag said he was not yet certain how many they were.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered an investigation into the incident.

“I have asked Director General Gerald Bantag of BuCor to investigate and submit a report to me asap,” he said.

Chaclag said the gangs involved were Sputnik and Commando. The brawl happened inside the East Quadrant of the Maximum Security Compound.

“Ongoing po ‘yung investigation at gusto natin in-depth at malaman agad natin, malaman talaga natin kung ano pinagmulan. Pero malalim ito considering na hinintay pang magmadaling araw bago sila nag-aksyon ng ganito,” said Chaclag over Radio DZBB.

(There’s an ongoing investigation and we want it to be in-depth, and we want to know how it started. But this is not simple, considering that they waited until the wee hours of the morning before they made their move.)

Bilibid had been rocked by the successive deaths of high-profile drug convicts like Jaybee Sebastian. Sebastian was the leader of the Sigue-Sigue Commando Group. 

The drug convicts’ deaths, attributed to the coronavirus, have fueled speculations of irregularities in Bilibid.

Rappler’s previous investigations have also shown a high number of deaths in Bilibid before and during the coronavirus pandemic, and that many of theconvicts who died were never tested. Guevarra had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe this, but the result of that inquiry is not yet known. – Rappler.com

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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 lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.