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Time for DOJ to get ‘full control’ over BuCor – Guevarra

Rambo Talabong

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Time for DOJ to get ‘full control’ over BuCor – Guevarra

FORMER DOJ CHIEF. A file photo of former justice secretary Menardo Guevarra in a meeting at the Palace with former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte on January 4, 2022.

Alberto Alcain/Presidential Photo

Former justice secretary Menardo Guevarra weighs in on how to fix the Bureau of Corrections problem

MANILA, Philippines – It’s about time the Department of Justice (DOJ) gets “full control” over the scandal-riddled Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), said former justice secretary and incumbent Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra.

“There really needs to be an overhaul. Among others, Congress should consider restoring full control, instead of mere supervision over the BuCor, to the DOJ,” Guevarra said in a mix of English and Filipino to reporters on Sunday, November 27.

The BuCor was granted autonomy through the BuCor Modernization law of 2013. Under the law, the DOJ was merely tasked to supervise the BuCor but did not control it directly. To change this, Congress would have to pass a new bill and have the president sign it into law.

Guevarra made the statement as the BuCor continued to be under the spotlight of scandal after its suspended chief Gerald Bantag was involved in a series of scandals, including:

Guevarra said “the huge excavation inside the NBP was purposely hidden from the knowledge of the DOJ” during his time.

According to newly installed BuCor chief Catapang, the excavation began in 2019. Guevarra was the justice secretary under the Duterte administration from April 2018 up until its end in June 2022. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.