Officials and prison guards at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) should not only be investigated, they should also undergo lifestyle checks to determine if they are living beyond their means, Sen. Francis Escudero said on Tuesday.
According to Escudero, a lifestyle check on prison officials and personnel is in order after a surprise raid conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that led to the discovery of contraband, including firearms and illegal drugs inside the penal facility.
“A lifestyle check and full-blown investigation of all officials and prison personnel is needed,” Escudero told The Manila Times.
There were reports that some prison guards own expensive vehicles that are beyond their financial capability.
Some observers said some NBP custodians are lured into corruption because personnel of the Bureau of Corrections receive smaller pay compared with their counterparts at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
The entry level for a jail officer at BJMP is Salary Grade (SG) 10 or about P17,000, while its counterpart at BuCor receives a salary equivalent to the pay of SG 5 (P12,000).
Also, BuCor custodial personnel are not considered uniformed and therefore are not entitled to salary increases, bonuses and other benefits.
Escudero earlier sought a top-to-bottom reorganization of the BuCor amid allegations of connivance between high-profile inmates and custodial personnel in illegal activities inside prison facilities.
The lawmaker said BuCor should be reorganized before the modernization law that will upgrade the facilities of the agency and upgrade the salary of its personnel is implemented.
It was Escudero who filed the measure in 2011. It was enacted into law in 2013. Its implementing rules and regulations were released by the DOJ on December 12 this year.