By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Fed up by an apparently unstoppable flow of contraband into the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa city, vice-presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong’’ R. Marcos Jr. has called for a thorough investigation of NBP jail guards and the prosecution of those found conniving with the inmates.
Marcos aired the call after the ninth raid conducted by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) at the maximum security compound yielded the same items prohibited in the state penitentiary – gambling materials, drug paraphernalia, cellular phones, tablets, and refrigerators.
In past surprised raids, Bucor officials practically confiscated high-powered firearms, drugs, deadly weapons and assorted ammunitions.
Marcos earlier said the next administration must increase its campaign against criminal elements as he expressed alarm over the rising incidences of crime and the growing menace of illegal drugs in the past years.
Surprised at the haul, “where have the illegal drugs confiscated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) gone?,” Marcos asked after noticing that narcotics seized by policemen in successful operations against drug traffickers consequently disappeared from the public eye after they were presented to the media as accomplishments.
“Where are the illegal drugs confiscated by the police? How are these stored and destroyed? The public should know,” Marcos said in a statement.
DESTROY IN PUBLIC
Procedurally, recovered illegal drugs are kept and used as evidence in court against those caught possessing the substances.
But Marcos said the drugs should be disposed within full public view after they were already presented and the courts deemed to have no more use of them.
“Whether they incinerate or use other methods in destroying the drugs, the process should be done in public view or, at least, covered by the media,” he said.
Marcos said this process would remove suspicions and assure the public that the drugs, or part of it, are not “recycled” or end up being re-sold in the streets by pushers under the protection of rogue policemen.
Marcos has proposed transparency in destroying recovered illegal drugs as he called on the PNP to step up their drive against drug trafficking and net big time drug traders and not just small retailers or street pushers.
He made the call as he expressed alarm over the rising drug-related crimes citing a report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that over 20 percent of the 42,029 total barangays nationwide had drug-related cases last year, with the National Capital Region (NCR) having the highest rate of drug-affected barangays at 92 percent.
On the NBP smuggling of contraband, Marcos asked: “How can you expect drug lords and other criminals to dread the prospect of being jailed or undergo reform when they can live a life of ease inside prisons and even pursue their illegal trade using smuggled goods?’’
The fact that many of the contraband were found in the possession of the jail guards clearly indicate connivance with inmates.
“They must be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,’’ Marcos said.
He commended the BuCor for its persistence in implementing “Oplan Galugad’’ within the NBP compound.
“The BuCor should not stop until they rid the NBP of prohibited items and institute corrective measures to minimize, if not stop altogether, connivance between the jail guards and the inmates,’’ he added.