MANILA — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima ordered on Monday the relief of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents assigned at the NBI Detention Facility.
This was after cellular phones, WiFi gadgets and phone chargers were confiscated from inmates detained at the NBI detention facility last week.
De Lima did not name the concerned NBI agents.
According to De Lima, she led in the raid of detention cells of known personalities such as Coco Rasuman and former Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co who are facing pyramiding scam cases in court.
The raid was conducted after the receipt of information that there were gadgets and other devices smuggled into rooms one and two, where the said personalities were being detained.
De Lima said that it’s impossible that the NBI personnel did not know the contraband.
Hence, De Lima ordered the relief of the NBI agents who guarded the facility at the time.
Aside from this, the DOJ Chief also ordered an in-depth investigation into the said modus.
De Lima said that the information came from an informant.
“We conducted a surprise inspection; I was there because I got a tip few days ago na meron mga cellphones doon sa NBI regular detention facility… on the strength of that tip we went there. I was assisted by the counter-intelligence division of the NBI. And lo and behold! Positive yung info. So both doon sa detention room 1 and detention room 2, may mga nakuha kaming cellphones, charger, wifi, etc.,” De Lima said.
“Yung tip ko kasi, doon daw sa may washing machine; it’s positive. Several cellphones including iPhones nakuha talaga namin doon sa ilalim ng washing machine and several others… marami-raming cellphones yung nakita namin kahapon,” she added.
The DOJ Chief has ordered an investigation into the matter.
She has also ordered the temporary relief of NBI personnel guarding the detention facility and those who come in contact with the inmates.
“I will immediately ask [NBI Director Virgilio Mendez] to relieve them from their respective assignments in relation to the detention facility, kung sinuman mga in-charge doon. Imposible na nakakapasok yan na hindi alam ng nagbabantay. They are supposed to be frisking, inspecting all visitors,” De Lima said.
“Kung honest-to-goodness yung kanilang pagfi-frisk, dapat nalalaman nila yan na may pinapapasok na cellphones. So i-imbestigahan na rin yan — sino na nanaman sangkot dyan? Sino mga gwardya o yung mga officials o personnel, the ones having supervision over the NBI detention facility?,” she added.
The NBI detention facility became controversial last week because of the discovery of cellular phones, wifi gadgets and chargers inside the detention cell of some members of the so-called “Bilibid 19”, who are high-profile convicts who were transferred from the National Bilibid Prison (NBP), Muntinlupa City to the NBI Headquarters, Taft Avenue, Manila.
An investigation is also underway to investigate the illegal entry of the prohibited items inside the NBI detention cell.