MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima recently announced that authorities and teams of agents are currently conducting a deeper investigation into illegal drug trafficking inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), as well as looking to expose influential government officials who coddled high-profile convicted drug lords.
De Lima said that the National Bureau of Investigation, Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police’s anti-drug unit and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are at the helm of the probe.
She added that these agencies “are tracing the connections and protectors of these drug lords.”
“We cannot rule out the possibility that these drug lords were able to continue with their criminal activities from inside the NBP because of so-called protectors from within and outside the government,” she said.
“These agencies as well as intelligence community have found that these people (convicts) were still controlling the narcotics trade in the entire country. They confirmed that the drug transactions are tied up to these personalities in the NBP,” she said.
De Lima and operatives from the various agencies led a series of surprise inspections at the NBP’s maximum security compound. Seized during the raids on the prison cells turned luxurious quarters were illegal drugs; and various recreational items such as a hot tub, a 48-inch flat screen television, bottles of expensive liquor, a Playstation 4, and a dining set, among other items. Sizable amounts of cash, firearms, and alleged rosters of drug clients were also confiscated from some drug lords.
The convicted high-profile drug lords have been transferred to the NBI detention center, while security measures are being revamped at the NBP compound.