New Bilibid Prison

Guevarra summons BuCor chief to explain high-profile virus deaths in Bilibid

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Guevarra summons BuCor chief to explain high-profile virus deaths in Bilibid

BUCOR. Bureau of Corrections Director Gen Gerald Bantag shows NCRPO Chief PMajor Gen Guillermo Eleazar around the New Bilibid Prison during a surprise inspection of the facility in Muntinlupa City on Monday, October 7. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

This comes after the reported death of convict Jaybee Sebastian, one of the accusers of detained Senator Leila de Lima

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday, July 19, said he has summoned Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag to explain the reported high-profile coronavirus deaths inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

“I have summoned BuCor DG (Director General) Bantag to my office tomorrow. We’ll find out,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters when asked about the deaths.

Bantag later sent his own text message, saying that while there were convicts who have died due to COVID-19, the Data Privacy Act “prohibits” the BuCor from naming them in public.

Suffice it to say, Bantag was unable to confirm if convict Jaybee Sebastian had died of the coronavirus disease inside the Bilibid, along with at least 8 other prisoners, as reported by media on Sunday morning. The reported deaths come just a week after the DOJ said NBP and BuCor were COVID-free.

Who is Jaybee Sebastian?

Sebastian was one of the chief accusers of detained Senator Leila de Lima in October 2016,  tagging her in a House hearing as an alleged protector of illegal drug operations at the national penitentiary when she was DOJ secretary.

De Lima, in her defense, accused Sebastian of being “pressured” by authorities to accuse her of drug-related crimes.

Unexplained deaths

In an investigation, Rappler found that since the pandemic was declared, dozens have been dying inside NBP, with some due to unknown causes. They were not tested for the coronavirus.

The Commission on Human Rights said this may result in the underreporting of actual coronavirus cases inside Bilibid which has a 335% congestion rate. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!