MANILA, July 26 — Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Antonio Kho said that the Special Action Force (SAF) contingent deployed last year to secure the maximum-security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, where most of high profile and hardened inmates are detained, has been replaced.
Kho said another SAF contingent replaced the one which has been assigned there since July last year.
“SAF already removed, replaced the entire battalion,” said Kho, whose office is tasked to supervise the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
The move comes after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II expressed concerns over the resurgence of the narcotics trade at the NBP.
Aside from this, Aguirre directed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran to determine how the illegal drug trade returned at the NBP and file the appropriate administrative and criminal cases against those behind it.
Both the BuCor and the NBI are attached agencies under the DOJ.
Aguirre said he will order a probe on some members of the SAF who may have been involved in the resurgence of the illegal drug trade inside the NBP.
He noted that some members of the police’s elite force may have been involved due to their familiarity with the inmates.
Kho also said he intends to review memorandum of agreement (MOA) of the BuCor with the PNP regarding the deployment of SAF.
“There’s MOA between BuCor and SAF regarding their participation to provide security in NBP, (we will) go over that again for areas of improvement,” he noted.
The campaign against illegal drugs trade has been at the forefront of President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority. The President repeatedly say that drugs is the source of all other crimes in the country.
The DOJ chief considered the neutralization of drug syndicates inside the NBP as one of his biggest accomplishments during his one year term in office, a resurgence of such groups inside the facility should be dealt with immediately.
Aguirre noted that 70 to 75 percent of illegal drugs in the country were being trafficked from inside the NBP prior to the assumption of the Duterte administration.
Members of the police’s elite have been deployed inside Bilibid’s Maximum Security Compound to stop the trade. Senator Leila De Lima and other former officials of BuCor have been charged in court for allegedly benefitting from the trade.