Officials and employees of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) face administrative charges for their failure to stop the entry of contraband into the national penitentiary, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima warned on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, de Lima ordered NBP Officer in Charge Supt. Roberto Rabo and other officials and jail guards to explain why they should not be held administratively liable for the illegal drugs, cellphones and gadgets seized from 20 inmates believed to be drug lords operating in the penitentiary.
“I will require all of them to explain why these contrabands were there inside the maximum security compound, and depending on their explanations, we determine who will be charged administratively,” the Justice chief said.
De Lima added that the illegal items that were seized will form part of the evidence in the cases being prepared by prosecutors.
She said NBP officials and employees may be suspended pending investigation.
De Lima, however, said Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu is not among those facing investigation “because he was with us in the planning and during the raid” that the NBI led on Monday.
But she added that Bucayu was given an ultimatum and was warned that possession of cash, cellphones and other contrabands by any inmate is unacceptable.
Discovery of the luxurious lifestyle of convicted drug traffickers at the NBP prompted Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd to call for reimposition of the death penalty.
According to Sotto, the situation at the national penitentiary clearly shows that life imprisonment is pro-rich.
“It is for this reason why I’m insisting that the [Senate justice committee] tackle that particular proposal [reimposition of death penalty],” Sotto told reporters also on Tuesday.
He insisted that life imprisonment does not deter crime.
Sotto authored Senate Bill 2080, which seeks to impose capital punishment on heinous crimes.
“We should not allow these drug lords to make the Philippines as their playground,” he said.
Sotto added that he is willing to amend his proposal and just limit the death penalty to high-level drug traffickers to be able to get the support of those who are against the punishment.