MANILA, Philippines – Following reports of VIP treatment and lavish lifestyles enjoyed by some inmates at the New Bilibid Prison, the national penitentiary, senatorial candidate Leila de Lima said prisons in the Philippines should be decongested in order to effectively implement reform programs.
De Lima said severe congestion in prisons is a major problem in the Philippine correctional system, tagging it as the cause of prison-based criminality.
“How can you implement reform programs kung hindi nabibigyan ng tamang environment for reformation?” she said during the Rappler senatorial debate on Friday, April 15, at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
In 2014, the then-justice secretary found illegal drugs, firearms, and other banned items in the lavishly decorated cells of convicted drug lords at the Maximum Security Compound of the prison.
The discovery sparked public outrage and triggered a series of raids on the prison in Muntinlupa City which holds some 22,000 inmates despite having a capacity of only 3,000.
The prison is under the Department of Justice, which De Lima headed until she filed her candidacy for senator.
De Lima said there was a need for segregation of inmates to effectively impose strict rules and do away with the lavish lifestyles some inmates enjoy inside the prison.
She also said that the planned transfer of the New Bilibid Prison to a P50-billion facility in Nueva Ecija was a major step in achieving this goal. – Rappler.com