• Smuggling of contraband inside Bilibid continues

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    JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Thursday admitted that there has been no let up to the smuggling of prohibited items inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) despite the strict security measures being implemented at the national penitentiary.

    At the hearing of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee on the proposed amendments to the Anti-wiretapping Act, Aguirre told senators that prison officials recently confiscated contraband smuggled into the highly secured Building 14.

    Building 14 was renovated during the time of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to house top drug inmates including Peter Co and Herbert Colangco.

    Aguirre said almost all officers and guards of the NBP have been replaced by Special Action Force (SAF) troopers to further strengthen security.

    From July 20 to 21, prison officials confiscated almost 200 cell phones, P1.6 million worth of illegal drugs, signal jammers and boosters and many other prohibited items.

    Asked by Sen. Leila de Lima why contrabands are still found in Building 14 which is supposed to be a secured area, Aguirre said inmates are “very creative” in slipping in banned items.

    “I don’t know how they were able to hide the signal boosters. We know for a fact that these are prohibited inside the Bilibid and we know for a fact that these cellphones are used by these high profile inmates in order to transact illegal drugs throughout the Philippines,” he added.

    This is the reason why wiretapping should be allowed in some cases, he pointed out.

    De Lima agreed with Aguirre on the need to relax the Anti-wiretapping law insofar as convicts are concerned.

    No capability

    During the hearing, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the panel, asked Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa if the police had the capacity to wiretap electronic communication and the latter said none.

    Lacson got the same response from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

    In an interview after the hearing, Lacson said he does not believe that the PNP and NBI have no capability to wiretap, but he understands why officials of the two agencies authorities could not admit being able to wiretap.

    “These are sensitive issues. In the first place, we have not passed the anti-wiretapping act amendment, it is the only time when they can admit that they have the capability,” he explained.

    Lacson pointed out that the “Hello Garci” scandal in 2004 wherein the telephone conversation between former President Gloria Arroyo and then Commission on Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano was recorded is a clear indication that electronic transmission can be intercepted.

    Bugged

    De lima said she believes that her cellphones have been tapped.

    “What legitimate purpose is being served? If that is the case am I a suspected terrorist or because I’m accused of being a coddler? Is that why my cellphones are being tapped?” she asked PNP officials.

    But Dela Rosa told the senator that he thinks that his cellphone was also bugged.

    “Your honor, I’m also suspecting that my cellphone is being tapped,” the PNP chief said, drawing laughter.

    De Lima inquired if he has any idea who could be responsible in bugging their phones but Dela Rosa maintained that the PNP is not behind it.

    “There are foreigners that has the technology to do it and we don’t have control over them. They can monitor our conversation from a faraway place. That is our problem,” he said. Jefferson Antiporda

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    5 Comments

    1. Juan T. Delacruz on

      Cell phones are not secure mode of communication because the signal being propagated during transmission are floating in the air / atmosphere in form of what we call RF (radio frequency) signal. A digital RF receiver can scan the atmosphere and can stop anytime when it detects a clear processed RF signal, meaning the signal to noise ratio are perfect and the operator can listen and record conversations. If an operator program any cellphone number into the scanner, it is much better because signal interception much easier and it can be recorded in either voice ( When talking) or data (texting).

      There are several ways to rectify these issues and the first thing is to install CCTV where there is no “dead Spot”. A dead spot means an area that cannot be covered by CCTV, and another thing is to restrict visitors or completely no visitors at all. Another method is to create cubicles, partitioned with thick glasses, with small round holes for the inmates and visitors can talk, and the prison superintendent can call this a “no touch” policy. Another thing is to punish anybody bringing contraband items during visits, and lastly, install extra cameras in the entrance area where they inspect bags of visitors.

      If for some reason that these techniques don’t work, the contrabands must have been coming in from another areas, such as supply delivery, or anybody and anything that do not require a thorough search going into the compound and contrabands can be passed on until it reaches its destination, building 14, and then the inmates are back to work again, making the guards look like bunch of idiots and fools.

    2. Invest in high performance BOOSTED JAMMERS and operate the device 24/7. RANDOM maintenance to be undertaken 3x a week. That should be our cheapest alternative against the hi-tech inmates.

    3. “Aguirre said almost all officers and guards of the NBP have been replaced by Special Action Force (SAF) troopers to further strengthen security.”

      There is the problem Mr. Secrectary…all previous jail staffs which include: all levels of leadership, guards, custodians, cooks, landscaping, maintenance, and even contract workers should have been replaced. The whole place is contaminated, and you Mr. Secretary did not do a good job of making sure the whole place is sanitized. Unless some of the SAF members are also contaminatred with drug money, in which case you failed to vet out your SAF MEMBERS.

    4. Meron siguro na mga secret tunnels sa loob ng bilibid prison kaya nakakapasok pa rin ang mga contrabands. Ito ang kailangang alamin at tuklasin ng mga namamahala sa prison. The inmates have the capability to build a secret tunnel and nothing can stop them.

    5. Calling on Gen. Balutan. Sir, are you now at the helm? Why can’t PNP-SAF totally eradicate these so called illegal activities inside Bilibid.