New Bilibid Prison

Shabu lab convict among 4 dead in Bilibid riot – DOJ

Lian Buan
Shabu lab convict among 4 dead in Bilibid riot – DOJ

RIOT. Armed Bucor personnel and the PNP Muntinlupa secure the entrance of the New Bibilid Prisons in Muntinlupa City after a riot broke out inside the national penitentiary at 9 in the morning, Monday, November 9, 2020.

Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

'He has the same first, middle, and last name as Calvin Tan and the same age so we can already report that it is the same person,' says Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar

Shabu lab convict Calvin Tan is among the 4 who died in the recent riot inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), which also injured 62.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) confirmed this on Wednesday, November 11.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) listed “Calvin D. Tan” as among the 4 deaths in the riot at the state penitentiary on Monday, November 9.

Calvin de Jesus Tan was among 12 Filipinos and Chinese convicted of drug manufacturing and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012. They were convicted over a shabu lab in Mandaue City, Cebu, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in 2018.

Asked if the Tan who was killed in the riot was the same person, Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said, “We can already report that it is the same person.”

“The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) hasn’t confirmed yet that it is the same person, but based on Calvin Tan’s prison record, he has the same first, middle, and last name as Calvin Tan extradited from Hong Kong and the same age so we can already report that it is the same person,” said Villar.

The other casualties are Ace P. Pempena, Edgar P. Publico and Jonathan G. Rodriguez.

Guns inside prison

BuCor Spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag confirmed at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum on Wednesday that the Tan who was killed in the riot is the same person.

He said Tan was a member of the Sputnik gang, rival of the Commando gang. Both gangs were involved in the riots.

Chaglag said that live handguns were found in the ceiling of the jail cells, and that the convicts fashioned the metal in their bed frames into sharp objects.

Chaclag said both gunshot and puncture wounds were found on the casualties. 

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the negligence of BuCor officials will be investigated, since the November 9 riot is the 2nd in a month. A gang brawl on October 9, also inside the Maximum Security Compound, left 9 convicts dead.

Rights group: Ease tension in Bilibid

Convicts have not been allowed to leave their jail cells after the riot, and cannot receive visitors. Visitations have been suspended since the onset of the pandemic.

Prisoners’ rights group Kapatid called on the BuCor to at least allow food deliveries.

“This will help ease the tension now gripping the New Bilibid Prisons, and likewise ease the pain of separation of PDLs from their families this Christmas season while helping uplift their nutritional sustenance and general well-being,” said Kapatid Spokesperson Fides Lim. 

During the pandemic, Bilibid has recorded a high number of deaths even as many of the convicts who died were never tested, Rappler’s investigations showed. High-profile drug convicts also died successively in a special building.

Guevarra had ordered the NBI to probe this, but the result of that inquiry is not yet known. – Rappler.com

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.