Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Former justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan III has denied allegations that he had made money from the transfer of inmates within the New Bilibid Prison compound.
Baraan said that the transfer of prisoners within the compound is "decided exclusively by the Bureau [of Corrections] Director."
"I did not have that authority to cause or order any such transfer. In instances like this, the BuCor Director would decide alone, and would not formally seek the approval of the Office of the Secretary," he said.
Baraan said Director Maria Charina Dy Po of the Department of Justice can clarify the matter. He noted that the Technical Staff is supervised by a different undersecretary.
"Any BuCor Director can also attest to this. We did not even know who were transferred and where, when, why were the transfers made," he added.
He dared Colanggo – whom he referred to as "Colangco – to produce documents that would support the convict's allegation against him.
"Colangco's claim is a complete nonsense. I challenge him to produce any document that shows I approved any transfer of inmate/s within the Bilibid compound," Baraan said.
He also said he does not personally know any "Susan" at the DOJ Technical Staff office. Upon checking with Dy Po, Baraan said he learned that there were two people with the name of Susan in that office.
"What I am certain of is that I do not have – with either of them – that kind of dealing that Colangco generally described in his outlandish claim. What he claimed is a total impossibility insofar as I am concerned," Baraan said.
Colanggo testified before the House inquiry that a certain "Susan" acted as Baraan's bagman. She allegedly coordinated with Colanggo's talent manager, Reynante Diaz, on how much had to be paid for convicts to be transferred within the Bilibid compound.
The convict, an alleged drug lord who is serving time for robbery, claimed that he acted as the intermediary for inmates who wanted to be transferred from one security compound to another. He admitted that he padded the amount allegedly demanded by Baraan and Susan, so he could make money too.