BuCor Chief ‘Bato’ to separate Chinese from Filipino drug inmates

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2018   •   4389

Retired Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa speaks on his appointment as chief of the Bureau of Corrections, May 11, 2018.

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is planning to assign a separate detention facility for Chinese drug lords apart from Filipino drug personalities inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP.)

In an interview with the program “Get It Straight with Daniel Razon” Friday, May 25, BuCor Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said such move will cut the connections of drug inmates and prevent them from organizing illegal drug activities.

“So kung mahiwalay mo itong dalawa, kahit na mag-order nang mag-order itong mga Chinese sa China, magpadala ng shabu dito, wala nang mag-cater doon sa demand side dahil putol na yung contact nila at di na ma-distribute,” Dela Rosa explained.

( If you separate the two,  regardless of how many times the Chinese [drug lords] send shabu from China, no one will take care of the demand side because their contact has been cut, they cannot distribute the goods anymore.)

Such plan is part of Dela Rosa’s project to decongest the national penitentiary. He said Bucor is now planning for the construction of additional buildings in all seven colonies of the agency in the country.

The BuCor Chief said he now understands why his predecessors in the BuCor were not able to completely solve illegal drug trade inside NBP. But Dela Rosa stressed that he is determined to finish his job until he achieves his goal.

“Ma-deliver ko lang iyong intention ko sa mga drug lord sa loob and it is really my intention to stop them. So in this kind of war, puwedeng ako ang matalo, pwedeng sila ang matalo. But I will see to it na hindi ako magpapatalo,” the former PNP Chief exclaimed.

However, Dela Rosa said he couldn’t ascertain if illegal drug trade would be totally eradicated in the country given the sophistication of drug lords in transacting illegal drugs.

The BuCor Chief added that big-time drug lords use high-end gadgets and even order fellow inmates to transact drugs on their behalf. Jamming systems are also becoming ineffective that’s why drug lords can still establish connection outside detention.

Nevertheless, Dela Rosa assured that majority of the inmates are determined to become better persons by veering away from unlawful activities especially when it involves illegal drugs.

“Hindi nga lahat diyan ay masasama. Marami pa rin diyan ang mababait, magagaling, matatalino (Not all inmates are bad. Many of them are kind, skilled and smart),” he said.

He also agreed that there are inmates who are actually innocent.

To date, BuCor has a total of 2,400 personnel deployed in seven penal colonies across the country. The agency is expecting 500 more this year.

Before he ended the interview, Chief Bato said he is likely to push for the reinstatement of the death penalty should he win as a senator. However, he said his decision still depends on the preference of President Rodrigo Duterte. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

Health reform advocate recommends ECQ extension in Luzon

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 3, 2020

A doctor and health reform advocate has recommended the extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon due to the continuous rise in confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

In an interview in ‘Get it Straight with Daniel Razon’, Special Adviser to the National Action Plan on COVID-19 Chief Implementor Dr. Anthony Leachon said there are several things to consider before lifting the ECQ.

Leachon noted that the government should look into the number of recoveries from the virus, the number of new cases, and the number of deaths to see if there is a considerable drop.

“We must not rush into this. Nagsabi ang World Health Organization (WHO) two weeks ago na the Philippines is not ready for lifting the lockdown,” he said.

Leachon also suggests lifting the ECQ gradually and prioritize areas which have a huge decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) still has not announced any official decision on the said recommendation for ECQ extension. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

BuCor officials in ‘GCTA for sale’ controversy still under Senate custody

Marje Pelayo   •   October 4, 2019

Joint Senate committee hearing led by the committee on justice and human rights chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon on the Good Conduct Time Allowance controversy and the so-called “ninja cops” on Thursday, October 3. PRIB/JOSEPH VIDAL

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) awaits the recommendation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on whether or not to accept under witness protection program (WPP) two of the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) officials involved in the Good Conduct Time Allowance controversy or the ‘GCTA for sale.’

The controversy placed the two BuCor officials, Senior Inspector Maria Belinda ‘Mabel’ Bansil and Officer 3 Veronica ‘Boday’ Buño, in hot water after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) revealed the result of its forensic examination on Buño’s cellular phone.

The two were accused of offering ‘GCTA for sale’ to relatives of inmates in exchange for their early release from jail.

Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Richard Gordon offered Bansil and Buño to subject themselves under WPP but Buño insisted that she didn’t have any personal knowledge about the controversy.

“Wala po talaga akong personal knowledge (I have no personal knowledge),” Buño said.

“Pero iyong mga information po ay napi-feed naman po kahit buong Bureau of Corrections ay alam (But all information was fed and known to the entire Bureau of Corrections),” she added.

The Senate wants to delve deeper into the matter particularly to confirm the alleged deleted exchange of text messages between Bansil and Buño which mentioned names of other BuCor officials including Faeldon and some amount related to the GCTA.

Unless the two disclose their knowledge about the alleged ‘GCTA for sale,’ they will remain under the custody of the Senate after the body cited them in contempt.

Gordon gave Bansil and Buño two to three days to speak on what they know about the matter.

Only then will the Senate hold an executive session to discuss whether or not they will recommend the two to be placed under WPP.

If they agree, they will be entitled to government protection and benefits under Republic Act 6981, otherwise known as ‘The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act.”

According to the provision of the Law, a person under WPP is entitled to the following:

1. Security protection and escort services;

2. Immunity from criminal prosecution and not to be subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for any transaction, matter or thing concerning his compelled testimony or books, documents or writings produced;

3. A secured housing facility;

4. Assistance in obtaining a means of livelihood;

5. Reasonable traveling expenses and subsistence allowance while acting as a witness;

6. Free medical treatment, hospitalization, and medicine for any injury or illness incurred or suffered while acting as a witness;

7. Burial benefits of not less than Ten Thousand pesos (P10,000.00) if the witness is killed because of his participation in the Program;

8. Free education from primary to college level for the minor or dependent children of a witness who dies or is permanently incapacitated; and,

9. Non-removal or demotion in work because of absences due to his being a witness and payment of full salary or wage while acting as a witness.

These benefits are way more than what the Senate can provide which is limited only to security details and free meals.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said they have not received any sign from the camps of Bansil and Buñoon whether they will accept the government’s offer of protection. – MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

Senator-elect Marcos to prioritize laws on poverty alleviation, agriculture

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2019

Imee Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – If Senator-elect Imee Marcos were to be asked, she would choose to chair the Senate Committee on Social Welfare as she wants to focus on crafting bills that would help alleviate poverty.

“Gusto ko sana social welfare,” the incoming senator said during an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on Friday (May 31).

“Titingnan natin ang 4Ps kasi dapat i-expand iyong work tapos ibabagsak ang presyo, importante iyon,” she added.

But in consideration of the more senior senators, Marcos said it will depend on the decision of Senator Joel Villanueva who currently chairs the Social Welfare Committee if he would give up the chairmanship.

Nevertheless, the senator-elect said she is still okay with the Senate Committee on Local Government as it also fits her credentials having years of experience in local governance.

Despite the controversies thrown against her and her family, Marcos ranked eight in the 2019 senatorial race with over 15,800,000 votes.

When the 18th Congress begins, Senator-elect Marcos said she would prioritize measures on lowering poverty incidence in the country, land reform, and peace and order or the anti-terror bill among others.

“Land reform agad-agad. Iyong wala nang utang utang (kundi) ibigay na ang lupa. Hahanap tayo ng Sistema dyan,) she noted.

Marcos also wants to amend the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and push for more Cash-for-Work programs instead of the ‘dole-out’ scheme.

She said she supports the establishment of a Department of Water to address the country’s water problem as well as measures for agricultural development and lowering the price of basic commodities.

She also wants to amend the current Solo Parent Law and push for more benefits for single parents.

“Dahil walang masaydong benepisyo ang mga nanay na mag-isa. Mahirap kasi. It’s hard to bring up kids by yourself,” she explained.

Marcos admitted she is against the Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC), a preference contrary to the Duterte administration.

She would support, however, measures that would establish a mandatory citizenship service instead of mandatory military service.

“Citizenship training na hindi pinipilit na maging military dahil hindi po pwedeng pilitin ang tao na maging sundalo,” she explained.

“I can bring another perspective to the issue. Hindi pwedeng pilitin ang bata (na maging sundalo) pero iyong citizenship ng isang Pilipino, iyong pagiging makabayan, iyon kailangan at agree ako na gawing mandatory iyon,” she added.

She wants an increase in tobacco and other sin taxes; reinstate the death penalty for drug-related crimes; extend the term of barangay officials and synchronize elections with the national level; benefits for retiring local officials; reform Sangguniang Kabataan system; and, the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipino Worker.

When asked if she would revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a known legacy of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the incoming senator said it is not necessary as there are alternative sources of energy similar to the windmills of Ilocos Norte. – (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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