“The investigation is ongoing and those who will be found responsible for these illegal activities will be made accountable,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
Coloma said the investigation on the NBP is part of the reforms being implemented by the Aquino administration at the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
He said President Aquino gave specific instructions to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, adding that the President was alarmed by the discoveries inside the NBP.
“We are focusing on how we can fully get rid of illegal activities inside the National Penitentiary and how we can make it drug-free,” he said.
Yesterday, De Lima ordered NBP officials and personnel to explain why they should not be administratively charged for their failure to stop illegal drug trade and other prohibited activities inside the country’s penitentiary.
But De Lima spared BuCor Director Franklin Bucayu from the investigation despite the command responsibility, saying that the state prison official was involved in the planning and the raid inside the NBP.
De Lima said she has already issued a show-cause order against NBP officers and personnel assigned at the maximum security compound, including its superintendent Roberto Rabo.
Coloma said the problems inside the NBP cannot be solved overnight.
“We are now investigating its extent and depth,” Coloma said.
The BuCor yesterday started dismantling and removing luxury items, including a hot tub, in various “kubol” (cubicles) of the so-called drug lords at the maximum security compound of the NBP.
Supt. Celso Bravo, officer-in-charge of the BuCor Office of the Assistant Director for Prison and Security, told Manila Bulletin that they started dismantling the cubicles Monday immediately following the order of De Lima, who made a surprise inspection of the maximum prison facility.
The inspection team discovered suspected shabu, more than a million in cash, hot tub, airconditioning units, TVs, PlayStation gadget, refrigerator, expensive liquor, musical instruments, expensive watches and even a sex doll.
Coloma said a modern prison facility is being put up in Nueva Ecija for a more effective system of imprisonment.
Bravo said the luxury items are being inventoried to ensure that all things are accounted for, adding that they have contacted the relatives of the so-called high-profile inmates for the items.
He said these items will be under the safekeeping of the BuCor until a decision is made on what to do with them.
Bravo said the “kubol” will be used as dormitories for other inmates. He said that if one cubicle was used by only one inmate before, it will now be used by several inmates.
The BuCor will also conduct its own investigation on how the luxury items were smuggled into the maximum security facility, Bravo said.
He suspects that these items entered the facility either because someone approved it or through connivance.
Before the inspection by De Lima, Bravo said the BuCor had already reshuffled 41 prison guards at the maximum security compound and ordered the voluntary drug testing of 208 prison guards.