A new contingent was deployed to the national penitentiary New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City after the discovery of the illegal drug trade inside the jail.
The deployment came about when the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was ordered to replace hundreds of police commandos manning the NBP.
According to Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho Jr., the new SAF contingent has taken took over the security operations of the NBP’s maximum security compound.
Kho is the undersecretary in charge of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), which runs the NBP and other penal colonies.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd asked the PNP for the deployment of 400 SAF troops in July 2016 after receiving intelligence reports that high-profile inmates continue to run illegal drug operations inside the NBP using cellphones.
Former Justice Secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima was charged and indicted for the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP.
De Lima has since been detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
With the resurgence of illegal drug trade under the SAF watch, Aguirre believes that police commandos may have been involved in corrupt activities inside the NBP.
“We want the SAF to provide additional complement but they are also involved in many activities. We cannot compel them or ask them to guard the entire NBP,” Kho said.
He added that “resurgence” may not be the apt term to describe the situation at the national penitentiary.
“I would not use the word ‘resurgence’ but rather it is a continuing effort on the part of the [Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation], as well as officers of BuCor to reduce and eliminate drug trading in the Philippines,” Kho pointed out.
“We have not eliminated [the drug menace]and the President also recognizes this that we have not eliminated drug trading in the Philippines,” he said.