TWO FORMER officials of the Department of Justice (DOJ) are in hot water for allegedly protecting and benefiting from drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd made the disclosure but did not name the former DOJ officials.
However, The Manila Times sources claimed that the two former DOJ officials are a woman and a man, both engaged in politics.
The man, tagged as a drug lord protector who had also benefited from drug money, is a former politician in Northern Luzon, the source said.
The lady ex-DOJ official was a practicing lawyer before entering government service, according to The Times source.
The DOJ will form a fact-finding committee to investigate the two former ranking officials at the department, Aguirre said.
Aguirre made the revelations during a media briefing on Friday on Oplan: “Digmaang Droga,” the DOJ’s campaign to stamp out the illegal drug trade at the state penitentiary.
“I don’t want to name names but we are going to come up with the results of the investigation. You have seen how leniently high-profile inmates have been treated. It is as if they are the ones in charge of things,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre pointed to a racket in which the daily meal budget for inmates were brought down to P40 from P50 so that the P240,000 “savings” per day could be pocketed by these officials and their cohorts at the state penitentiary.
Only 19 high-profile inmates had been transferred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) main compound in Manila following a raid of the NBP, because the former DOJ officials exerted their influence, he added.
It will be recalled that during the stint of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, now a senator, she ordered the transfer of high profile inmates from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to the NBI.
Aguirre also claimed some NBP officers were “liquidated” on the orders of some high-profile inmates.
He cleared former BuCor director general Rainier Cruz by stating that he had received derogatory reports on all other BuCor and NBP officials, except Cruz.
Religious groups banned
In addition, Aguirre banned all religious teachings and activities at the NBP.
A religious group has allegedly been bringing in prostitutes and, possibly, illegal drugs inside the state penitentiary, he said, again without going into details.
With the Philippine National Police Special Action Force taking over the NBP, a total of P1.61 million in cash has been seized from high-profile inmates, as well as six improvised shotguns, a caliber .38 pistol, 80 bladed weapons, 152 cellular phones, 62 mobile phone chargers, 48 television sets, 12 ice picks, six sachets of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and one plastic bag of suspected marijuana.
Forensic examination is being done on the seized phones to check on illegal activity involving their owners.
The ban on religious groups doing outreach work inside the NBP will be lifted “once the situation normalizes,” Aguirre said.
“An NGO (non-government organization) and three well-meaning prison guards came to see me to share the information,” Aguirre said.
In the meantime, Aguirre said that the bidding for a new, P50-billion prison facility in Laur, Nueva Ecija would proceed.
This is despite the fact that the DOJ is looking at Caballo Island near Corregidor as an NBP annex to house its most notorious inmates.