Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday ordered a probe into the alleged grant of special treatment to high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
The NBP houses 14,500 convicts.
“I have directed the Usec-in-charge [Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan] to immediately probe those reports,” De Lima said in a text message.
But NBP Superintendent Fajardo Lansangan denied the allegations.
The justice secretary’s attention was called after the group Bilibid Atin Ito disclosed that some Chinese prisoners enjoy large, air-conditioned cells or kubol with hot and cold water. The cells are said to be equipped with 42-inch television sets, laptop computers and Wi-Fi connection.
The group said the Chinese enjoy the use of scooters, golf carts, two-way radios and bodyguards.
Also rampant are the use of illegal drugs, the sale of guns and prostitution.
Another convict has the privilege of staying in a big kubol, with a cook, waiter and bodyguards after he donated money to upgrade the NBP Hospital, the group said.
Lansangan belied the reports.
“The so-called VIP prisoners [are]a thing of the past. Today, every inmate can avail [themselves of]necessities and they enjoy certain rights while serving their prison term,” he said.
He, however, admitted that ailing inmates may be moved to an air-conditioned room, provided they pay the electric bill. Television sets are also allowed because they “cannot deprive the inmates” the knowledge of what is happening outside the prison walls.
Some inmates, he said, tried to smuggle weapons and illegal drugs but these were intercepted.