P10 million per month ‘rental’?

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De Lima knew about “Bilibid Resort” a year ago, why did she move only now?

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had been informed a year ago by Philippine National Police officers that organized-crime lords were living luxury lifestyles inside Bilibid Prison, with the drug kingpins even continuing their drug operations from there.

Yet de Lima had dragged her foot for months and refused – until last week – to raid the prison so as to stop those scandalous operations at Bilibid. Why?

“We were very angry why de Lima was not doing anything,” a police officer said. “We risk our lives in operations, police officers were killed by these criminals, we refuse millions of pesos in bribes, only to find out that the criminals we sent to jail are living in luxury in Bilibid and are even allowed to get out for entertainment,” he said.


In a radio interview, jueteng whistle-blower Sandra Cam also disclosed that her group had brought an ex-jail guard Kabungsuan Makilala to de Lima who told her under oath all the corruption at Bilibid back in 2012. De Lima though refused to take him into the department’s witness protection program and refused to believe his testimony.

“Bilibid Resorts Board of Directors,” from top right counter-clockwise: Justice Department Secretary Leila de Lima (photo is her official one posted in the DOJ’s website); Franklin Jesus Bucayu, Bureau of Corrections director; Celso Bravo, officer-in-charge of the Assistant Director for Prison and Security; and Roberto Rabo, superintendent of New Bilibid Prison.

“Bilibid Resorts Board of Directors,” from top right counter-clockwise: Justice Department Secretary Leila de Lima (photo is her official one posted in the DOJ’s website); Franklin Jesus Bucayu, Bureau of Corrections director; Celso Bravo, officer-in-charge of the Assistant Director for Prison and Security; and Roberto Rabo, superintendent of New Bilibid Prison.

“One informant told us about two-dozen gang leaders there, especially the drug lords,” the police officer said, “contribute to pay P10 million monthly, their ‘rent’ to officials in charge of Bilibid — from the guards to officials at the justice-department level—so they would be allowed to do as they please inside Bilibid.”

What has recently been exposed in media, the officer claimed, is only the tip of the iceberg as the convicts were tipped a week before that there would be such a raid. “So only those who were so hard-headed that they didn’t believe in the warning are in trouble now,” the officer claimed.

De Lima’s raiding party contained not a single PNP personnel. She had not informed even the top leadership of the PNP, even interior secretary Mar Roxas, about the raid.

The officer claimed that President Aquino seemed to have totally trusted de Lima that his group’s efforts to push de Lima to act through media exposes accomplished nothing. Throughout this year, there were indeed occasional reports in newspapers and television about Bilibid being run by drug lords.

Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia Jr, of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force was bold enough in June 2014 —six months ago—to publicly ask the Justice department to investigate the VIP treatment of drug lords the task force had arrested.

Merdegia reported at that time hat his task force’s had conducted an operation inside Bilibid and discovered that some high-profile convicts were staying in air-conditioned rooms with their own flat screen television and hot and cold shower. Merdegia also claimed that top drug lords were even allowed to go to top-of-the-line hospitals for “check-ups” and whenever they feel they have to consult with their doctors.

The Justice department ordered a probe, which however investigated solely why certain convicts were allowed to leave prison to go to their chosen hospitals, and even to visit their homes.

It is astonishing how in the face of this national embarrassment, this total failure of government (how could drug lords continue their criminal operations in a jail, and even have high-powered assault rifles?) those accountable for it aren’t immediately suspended.

These are Justice Secretary de Lima who supervises the Bureau of Corrections, its director Franklin Bucayu, his deputy in charge of prisons Celso Bravo, and the New Bilibid warden Roberto Rabo.

They should be immediately suspended, all their files and computers confiscated as these may contain evidence of their collusion\ with the convicts. Their bank accounts must be investigated by the Anti Money Laundering Council to determine if they received suspicious funds.

If there is a topic the Senate should be investigating in aid of legislation, it is the penal system. On one level, it has become the center of drug syndicates and a luxury resort, and on another it is hell for most of its occupants.

Such an investigation would unearth the answer to the most intriguing question right now: Why, after being informed of how Bilbid has been converted into a resort and nerve-center of drug lords more than a year ago, did de Lima act against these only now?

I’m astonished why President Aquino seems nonchalant about the scandal that is the “Bilibid Resort,” telling de Lima that it’s only the “high powered guns that worries him.”

What? Doesn’t he even remember his basic law courses that emphasized that the fifth pillar (after “community,” police, prosecutors, and courts) is the penal system? What would be the use of all the four pillars if, at the end of the day criminals are not only unpunished but are able to direct their criminal syndicates—from inside the penal system.

Cliché it certainly is, but I can’t help saying it: Only in the Philippines. Maybe also: Only under this incompetent government.

Our penal system under Aquino has given an entirely new meaning to South African legend Nelson Mandela’s famous quote: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.”

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

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35 Comments

  1. Yes, this is only the tip of the iceberg. But did De Lima thought about the other prisoners in NBP? Those common prisoners who had nothing, that’s why they ended up in jail coz they had no money to pay top caliber lawyers to defend them. Those people were now in danger…She should have established a safety cordon for those prisoners. She didn’t research on how the process works. The corrupt jail guards, who asked for padulas everytime a prisoner needs something; have she heard of “sky way system” in NBP, the “tilapias”, among other things. If you really want to reform the BUCOR, go deeper and try avoiding media hife.

  2. If DeLima already knew of the existence of these “Bilibid Resorts” in 2012, she should be made accountable for non-action. If she knew, then she must in on the take that these drug lords are paying as ‘rental’. DeLima, as well as a lot of other officials of this corrupt administration, are all hiding behind this facade called ‘Tuwid-na-Daan’, When it is anything but straight. I have never seen this level of corruption, even in Marcos’ time. Which these people claim is the most corrupt.

    • Indeed, for not doing a raid or conducted any investigation before when she has been told about those shenanigans ages ago, surely, Senyora Layla is negligent and liable for dereliction of duty. But this may just be a show to earn “pogi” points for public acceptance of her nomination to the COMSELECT. She needs to be made “credible” so that when she goes to the poll body, people will believe that she will be there to effect a cleansing of our electoral system. But the real objective actually is to reject any filing of candidacy that Senyor Jojo will make.

  3. The Philippines is actually too broken to fix. Pres. Aquino is an honest man, but it would take decades to fix the corrupt mess that is the Philippines. Criminality is common place. Both theives and politician feel actually entitled to do what they do, as if it is some sort of twisted religion. The poor have been kept poor for so long by a theiving government that they are willing to accept money for almost anything. After all, there is almost zero upward mobility in this highly segregated society, where the rich take everything, not even leaving the bones behind for the poor. Don’t expect anything to change in the Philippines for at least the next 50 years, it won’t. The national culture of apathy will ensure nothing changes. The national celebrity facination with notorious thieves and criminals will cement this. The national media is a paid-for-joke and the education systems creates nationalistic followers, following certain politicians as if they were Jesus.

  4. Iam sorry to inform to Arlyn Sagaran, during marcos time, it is totally different. NBP is really Jail.no especial treatment. Gang is always there for every block. really jail. Now what happened it becomes condominium and motel maybe… Ms. Arlyn iam sorry , you dont know nothing about the difference of JAIL and rest house. You better shut up….NBP is for the hoodlums , menace of the nation. in my opinion remove all the personnel of NBP from top to bottom…In america you see what is Jail for them. It is really JAIL…

  5. Don’t be surprised that it took De Lima one year before closing down the Bilibid Resort prison. She is incompetent. Remember the 5 year-old Maguindanao Massacre? Up to now, there is no sign that this case is coming to any closure any time soon.

    But what is really surprising is why BS Aquino still keeps De Lima as Secretary of Justice? Or why he still keeps Abad, Dinky Soliman, Alcala, etc?

    • wag na taung magtanga-tangahan, ung bomoto lang naman kay aquino ang naniniwala na magaling cyang presidente. c de lima since she hold as commissioner of Human rights Portfolio, nothing accomplishes, she’s only good in TV but in the contrary!

  6. isnt it obvious? de lima gets a share of the “rental” fees. pnoy probably so stupid his trusted people are throwing circles around him or he is just as corrupt as they are.

    i look forward to the day when all of them go to jail after their term.

  7. jose btaganahan on

    If the raids in the NBP were planned by the Justice Secretary and her recommendee, the Bureau of Corrections Director, I don’t think it is right to remove them. After all, this shenanigans inside the national penitentiary was already happening long time ago even during the time when Robin Padilla was still incarcerated inside the NBP. It appears that only Justice de Lima had the ‘balls’ to dismantle these shenanigans and yet, Mr. Tiglao who is a GMA lapdog and a BINAYaran would want Sec. De Lima removed from office!

    • You are missing the point…note that Sec. De Lima was already informed of these shenanigans in the Bilibid prison a year ago. Why did it took her that long to act on these reports? Doesn’t her delayed action a sign of incompetence on her part? C’mon open your eyes to what really is happening in this pot-holed and muddy “matuwid na daan”.

  8. This has been growing and growing over the past four years. Media exposures years ago did not stop it. What took so long? This must go all the way up to the Prseident.

  9. Vicente Penetrante on

    The President’s “I trust my appointed people” meant “Bahala ka na!” Their departments are their concerns. He had washed his hands, no longer to blame.

    Sen. Serge Osmena had said that the President is “ampaw” as manager.

  10. COMMON KNWLEDGE YAN. PANAHON PA NI MARCOS-GANYAN NA YAN. PANAHON PA NG IDOL NATIN, PLUNDERER GMA-TALAMAK NA YAN. IT IS ONLY NOW NA MAY GAGAWIN LABAN A GANYANG KATIWALIAN SAKALI

  11. chthonic monster on

    and then some more:

    The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other. They are worse than ever when, at the termination of their punishment, they return to society. _ _ Napoleon Bonaparte

  12. chthonic monster on

    again again again and again its so sickening already;

    Fyodor Dostoevski also said: the degree by which a society is civilised can be measured by entering its prisons/jails!

  13. De Lima has just wasted her chance to become a senator. Hwag na lang kayong tumakbo sa 2016 madam secretary.

  14. PNOY must strongly take drastic actions of FIRING all these top triumvirate officials of NBP, Bucayo, Rabo and Bravo! De Lima, on the other hand, should
    be required to explain the lax and loose management of the NBP where those 20 drug lords are incarcerated in a luxurious facilities complete with high-powered guns, drugs, cash and equipment for a rich criminal group. This is not the first time NBP was in the limelight for abusive management by Prison Officials, starting from Leviste’s to the drug kingpin who had sexual trysts in hospitals with low level actresses. The gun and drug smuggling inside the prison have been public knowledge, as a grenade explosion occurred months ago. The drug lords also uses the Prison facilities to continue their big time drug deals and usage of the prison cells as Shabu laboratories. It is inconceivable that these criminal activities inside are not known to the lowest guard to the top prison officials. These officials and correction officers are under obligation to do a regular count down, roll call and physical inspection of all the nooks and crannies of the prison cells to discover or prevent escapes and smuggling of drugs and guns inside the prison cells. These top prison officials together with the conniving prison guards must be jailed and thrown in the midst of these drug lords to give them company for life!

  15. At least the three other Directors of the resort still have a very thin thread of “honesty” in them. They submitted pictures that are NOT from 30 or so years ago. The Department of Justice has become under this curse of an administration the Department of “Diyos Ko !” or DoDK!

  16. Bobski Natividad on

    Those highly placed officers in the BuCor should resign should have decency left in them. Finger pointing will never solve the mess they created. As for the congressman from Guimaras, he has a very shallow alibi how his pistol got there,

  17. I don’t think these officials you mentioned above should just be suspended. They all should be relieved, investigated and if found in cahoots with the drug lords, be charged in court. Because government operates based on trust, any semblance of impropriety on the part of government officials should be enough reason for them to get fired and be replaced.

  18. Ballistic tests should be conducted on these short firearms confiscated from these prisoners. This will show if these guns were used in committing a crime of murder, using inmates as the gunmen.

  19. juan escariote on

    oh, this was already known in 2012. is it likely LP and allies already tapped these drug lords’ funds before for the 2013 national election?

  20. juan escariote on

    10M per month?! wow! another source of funds for the LP and allies 2016 election campaign!

    this may be one of the reasons why BS Aquino corrupt govt is busting nowadays these drug lords luxury living inside the prison! — support the yellow 2016 campaign or say goodbye to these luxuries!

  21. This “Bilibid Scandal” is another major test on the decisiveness and leadership skills of Pnoy and De Lima. An independent body must be formed to investigate deeper on this issue in consultation with the Senate’s Committee members assigned on this matter and the Ombudsman. There is a shadow of doubt regarding the credibility and integrity of de Lima being given the primary official to lead the raid and investigation. Try to involve the NBI, PNP (reliable officials), DOJ and let the people know about updates on the issue. The government should welcome comments about current issues that affect the country and not feel insecure about their decision making if they really are doing sincere efforts for the common good and not for publicity purposes only.

  22. LP gangs ay mas masahol pa sa mafia dahil ultimo pangulo ay kontrolado nila!!ang hayop 10 ang nagmamani-obra sa. gobyerno!!
    Ang papel lang na ibinigay nila kay sinto-sinto Aquino ay makapaghiganti sa nag-alis ng hacienda luisita!!
    Maliban doon ay wala na!!
    Lahat ng malipit kay Aquino ay inaalisan nila ng power, inuna na si purisima! Hindi ba ninyo napapansin na walang-walang-reklamo si abnoy ng alis si purisima na tagapagtanggol niya. buhat ng bata siya!
    Pa sample lang ito kay Aquino!
    Walang kaalam-alam ang bayan kung sino talaga ang pangulo!!
    Lahat halos ay nabulag!!
    Delima lahat gagawin nito ngayon para maging senador!
    Lahat ng mga bata-bata niya ay gagamitin muna niya para may-pang media at para lalo siyang pag-usap, ngayon lahat ng kawalangyaan sa bilibid ay noon pa niya alam,nangungulekta muna ang mga bata niya ng pondo!!

    • Jaime Dela Cruz on

      Alam mo ngayon ko lang na “esep-esep” (tapos kong basahin kumento mo) na baka hindi senador ang balak ni DeLima. Kung ganito kaaktibo ang build up niya sa image niya, baka bise ang tatakbuhin. Sus Ginoo!

  23. And that is why, the “malakas” ones were given a warning before the raid kasi “zarzuela” lang lahat ito. Palabas, Pampasindak , Pampagulo para wag pansinin ang dubious national budget ! And that is also why the heads of those close to Mr. Incompetent Daang Matuwid are not rolling!

  24. That’s because this Bilibid expose’ is nothing but a “wagging the dog” tactic so that our attention will be removed from the immoral acts of Congress in approving this year’s budget which includes “legalizing” the unconstitutional DAP, PDAF!

    • nakalimutan na ng tao yung immoral na 2015 budget plus yungP22B supplementary budget na pinasa ng mga AMORAL members of congress led by drilon, belmonte, gonzales, chizwiz escodero, mr ate vi, etc. Pinaputok ito para makalimutan ng tao pati DAP at parang coming out party ni de limas para sa kandidatura nya sa senado. ang hindi alam ng Lapiang Pork ay may mga tao na gumagawa ng imbestigasyon kagaya ni bob tiglao, tatad, robles, joe taruc, bondoc atbp at hindi basta naniniwala sa palabas ni aquino.