Manhunt launched vs. assailants of BuCor top lawyer in GCTA controversy
Marje Pelayo • February 20, 2020 • 829
MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are now investigating the motive behind the killing of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Legal Service Department chief, Atty. Fredric Anthony Santos on Wednesday (February 19).
Santos was shot by two still unidentified gunmen in front of his daughter’s school near the New Bilibid Prison as he was supposed to pick her up.
Witnesses said the suspects immediately left the crime scene onboard a motorcycle after the incident.
Santos became controversial after appearing in a Senate inquiry as a witness in the alleged ‘freedom for sale’ inside the BuCor in connection with the inmates’ Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
The BuCor official sustained gunshot wounds in the head and died on the spot, according to the responding rescue team from Muntinlupa City.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday (February 20) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation on the killing of Santos.
The SOJ also ordered a case build-up and eventually charge those who are behind the murder.
Secretary Guevarra believes that the killing of Santos is likely linked to his role in the GCTA investigation.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCPO) Chief PDG Debold Sinas, meanwhile, assured the safety of Santos’ family following his death.
“We have coordinated with BuCor for the security of the Family na nakatira doon sa BuCor Compound,” he said.
Santos was suspended in September last year by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for allegedly allowing the questionable release of prison convicts.
Following Santos‘ death, Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed that he was informed that the BuCor official promised Senator Panfilo Lacson that he (Santos) will divulge everything he knew about the irregularities in the granting of GCTA privileges inside the New Bilibid Prison. – MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the courts in the country to temporarily suspend the issuance of commitment order for the transfer of convicted inmates from detention facilities to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
In a circular posted on the Supreme Court’s Twitter page, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that all convicted persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who should have been transferred to the BuCor should remain in the facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) from July 29 to August 31, 2020.
This is in line with the request of BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag to the Office of the Court Administrator to temporarily suspend the issuance of commitment orders to BuCor to prevent the further contamination of COVID-19 and to minimize the movement of inmates.
Both the BuCor and the BJMP have recorded cases of COVID-19 in their facilities with reported fatalities.
Detained persons awaiting or facing trials are placed under the custody of the BJMP while those convicted are under the BuCor.
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said she has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the deaths of nine inmates in the New Bilibid Prison after allegedly testing positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In filing Senate Resolution No. 473, Hontiveros said the deaths of these high-profile inmates must be looked into following questions surrounding their demise.
“It is baffling how COVID-19 was able to wipe out several drug lords with one blow,” she said in a statement.
“For the sake of transparency, they need to be clarified,” she added.
Hontiveros pointed out that previous Senate investigation on the alleged corruption inside BuCor have revealed “schemes in which high-ranking officials of the bureau would dispense favors to rich inmates in exchange for monetary consideration.”
She said these schemes and the immediate disposal of the remains cast a cloud of doubt over the reported deaths of the inmates.
“The lack of reliable information on the deaths of the inmates, the track record of some officials within the BuCor, and the improbability of the fatality rate, creates enough doubt in the mind of a reasonable person on the truthfulness of these deaths,” Hontiveros said,
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) earlier confirmed that a number of inmates, nine of whom were high-profile, in the New Bilibid Prisons have succumbed to COVID-19.
BuCor chief Gerald Bantag, however, said he cannot disclose the names of these individuals pursuant to the Data Privacy Act.
The Department of Justice has already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to delve into the issue.
Meanwhile, Hontiveros’ resolution also sought to investigate the health and sanitary conditions in penal institutions “so that the abnormally high number of COVID-19 fatalities might be addressed.”
“By conducting this investigation, we may be able to put an end to speculation and improve our response to the pandemic within our penal institutions,” she added.
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Friday reported that two more persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
BuCor said the two were part of the same batch tested earlier but their results were only released on Thursday.
The bureau said the COVID-19 positive patients will also be transferred to the quarantine area at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“They will join their colleagues at the NBP quarantine area (Site Harry) following strict transport protocols,” it said in a statement.
The latest cases bring to 22 the total number of individuals from the facility who contracted the viral disease.
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