MANILA—Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Benjamin Delos Santos on Friday ordered the relief of all the prison guards stationed at the Intelligence Service for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) detention facility due to alleged reports that some high profile inmates temporarily detained there are given special privileges.
Delos Santos ordered the 20 prison guards headed by Prison Guard 3 Marlon Mangubat to be transferred back to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) as they face investigation to determine their possible liability.
In response to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II memorandum issued on Wednesday, Delos Santos said a clearing operation was conducted by a joint team of BuCor and members of the Special Action Force (SAF) at the said facility.
The BuCor Chief said the joint team has dismantled air conditioning units and also searched all the rooms and no cellular phones were found in the rooms and with the inmates.
He said there is only one phone installed at the reception area for emergency purposes, under watch by BUCOR-SAF and all calls are logged individually showing inmates name, time, date and party contacted.
He added that there is only one television set installed and that is at the reception area for scheduled viewing.
Aguirre has earlier denied claims of Senator Leila De Lima that he has restored the privileges of inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) who testified in the House of Representatives inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the national penitentiary.
“I absolutely deny it. I made no such order. However, allow me to point out that Senator De Lima used the term “restores, it only means that she is admitting that such privileges that she claims were restored were existing during her time as Secretary of Justice!,” Aguirre said.
“She must be referring to her stint as Secretary of Justice when such privileges abounded and were tolerated in the NBP. She must have a lot of spare time to reminisce about her past. You can only reminisce about factual things, things that actually happened,” he added.
Aguirre remained unfazed as he dared de Lima to present evidence to back her accusation.
De Lima claimed she has “indisputable information that Aguirre restored the privileges of the high-profile inmates led by convicted robber Herbert Colanggo who testified against her in the House’ s inquiry on the narcotics trade.
She said among these privileges were the use of cellular phones and other electronic gadgets, television, airconditioning units and even Internet access.
The use and or possession of such devices inside the New Bilibid Prison are strictly prohibited with Aguirre himself saying last year that the illegal drugs trade proliferated inside prison due to the presence of communication gadgets which allowed them to contact their cohorts outside.