MANILA – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said that she scolded the heads of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on the lax security after cash and mobile phones were found by the agency.
“Well, it’s really very disappointing on my part. we planned and prepared for the December 15 operation and I ordered the transfer of the inmates, but still they were able to get contraband,” she said referring to the discovery of the said items.
She noted that they are looking at the possibility of the cash and mobile phones being concealed in food items brought inside NBI where the high-profile detainees from the New Bilibid Prison were brought.
“Our initial theory is that the contraband were able to get in through the food. During Christmas, they were not allowed visitors, even their families and counsels (were not allowed in). But they requested that food be brought to the inmates instead and these were not probably inspected somehow. There was reportedly even lechon and other types of food so maybe [the cash and mobile phones] were concealed inside,” De Lima revealed.
During their inspection of the quarters last December 28 and 29, De Lima said they were able to recover cash amounting to almost P400,000 concealed in cigarette packs and hidden in trash cans. Two inmates also have mobile phones with them.
“How in heaven’s name those items got in when I know for a fact that upon their transfer, they were extensively and thoroughly frisked? Even their underwear were inspected for concealed items,” she said.
De Lima already tasked Head Agent Rommel Vallejo from NBI’s Anti-Organized and Transnational Crimes Division to lead the investigation as to how the inmates were able to get hold of the items and to determine who the accomplices are.
The high-profile prisoners are kept in a portion of the NBI headquarters as a extension of BuCor. De Lima said that they are looking at the possibility of connivance between the regular inmates and the transferred inmates.