NCRPO to probe link of GCTA mess to BuCor exec’s killing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 21, 2020   •   377

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is looking into the connection of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) issue with the killing of Bureau of Corrections legal chief Atty. Frederic Anthony Santos.

According to NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas, the NCRPO already formed a special investigation task group to investigate the said case.

“Iyong tinitingnan nila ay iyong dating kaso ni Atty. Santos, iyong GCTA. Iyon ang latest na case niya at iyon ang cause kung bakit siya na suspend (They are looking into the former case of Atty. Santos which is the GCTA. That was his latest case and it was the cause of his suspension),” he said.

“We are checking sa angle na iyon kung sino ang nag-benefit sa pagkapatay ni Atty. Santos (We are checking that angle, and who benefited from killing Atty. Santos),” Sinas added.

Investigators, however, were not able to retrieve the CCTV footage from the incident. According to Sinas, the CCTV around the area were all broken.

The dash cam of Santos’ vehicle was also unable to capture the shooting.

“The shooters approached on the left side of the driver seat, kaya hindi nahagip ng dash cam (so it was not captured by the dash cam),” Sinas said.

The NCRPO official said there were two suspects in the shooting and they were on board a motorcycle.

Santos was suspended as the BuCor’s legal chief last September 2019 for the Senate hearing on the GCTA issue. He was supposed to resume work this March.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Ecleo also tagged in death of slain wife’s relatives—NCRPO

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

Former lawmaker Ruben Ecleo Jr., who was arrested on Thursday (July 30), is also believed to have been involved in the murder of his slain wife’s relatives, according to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas said they received information that aside from being the tagged in the murder of his wife, Alona Bacolod Ecleo, Ecleo may also be involved in the murder of the father, mother, and siblings of his wife in 2002.

May kinalaman siya but the case was not filed unlike iyong sa asawa niya. But everybody knows doon sa Cebu, na siya ang prime suspect (He is involved but the case was not filed unlike in the case of his wife. But everybody in Cebu knows he is the prime suspect),” he said.

However, Ecleo has denied the allegation.

Wala. Hindi po, hindi ko alam po, (No, I do not know anything),” he said.

Ecleo was arrested in Pampanga on Thursday and is charged with parricide for the murder of his wife in January 2002. He is also facing graft charges for an anomalous project when he was still the mayor of San Jose, Surigao Del Norte. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

SC suspends transfer of convicted inmates to BuCor due to COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

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.

Probe into deaths of Bilibid high-profile inmates due to COVID-19 sought in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2020

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.

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