MANILA – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima on Sunday said that they will conduct an investigation on the money seized from inmates who were relocated to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last month.
The money amounting to almost P700,000 was found together with four mobile phones hidden in garbage bins and toilet tanks in the prisoners’ quarters. According to De Lima, these items were “most probably” smuggled during the Christmas season.
She said that this is a case of “security lapse.” De Lima also noted that those who are found responsible will pay for what happened.
“I want to know when [exactly] and how it could have happened and who were involved—either or both NBI and Bureau of Corrections personnel assigned to the NBP extension and possibly even regular detainees at the NBI [jail] itself,” said De Lima.
Agent Rommel Vallejo of the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational
Crimes Division was assigned by De Lima to spearhead the investigation.
“I will wait first for the results of the ongoing probe into that security lapse. I will decide on that once we have the results of the probe,” said De Lima replied when asked what she would do with the responsible parties.
Last December 15, 20 well-known prisoners were transferred to NBI jail following a surprise raid led by De Lima. During the raid, they were able to uncover the luxurious wards of the criminals, including their stash of goods, firearms, drugs, and communication gadgets. This allowed De Lima to conclude that some of them are still operating their business behind bars.
Four prisoners including Herbert Colangco, Amin Imam Boratong, Michael Ong, and Vincent Sy said that they own the money found.