Pacquiao advises Faeldon to take leave as BuCor chief

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019   •   278

Senator Manny Pacquiao (left) and BuCor Chief Nicanor Faeldon (right)

Senator Manny Pacquiao has advised Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon to take a leave-of-absence while facing investigation.

In a statement, Pacquiao said he believes in the integrity and honesty of Faeldon but the investigation on the alleged abuse of the Republic Act 10592 or the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law needs Faeldon’s “full and undivided attention.”

“I know that Undersecretary Faeldon is a good man and has served his country well but I really think that he can spare the president and this administration from embarrassment by taking a leave-of-absence,” he said.

READ: Faeldon admits signing ‘memorandum’ not release order for Antonio Sanchez

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee will continue the investigation on Thursday (September 5) on the said issue.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said Faeldon’s fate lies in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hands.

“That’s for the president to decide. I talked with him yesterday, and that’s what he told me: ‘There is an ongoing investigation and I’ll wait for the investigation,’” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Faeldon had previously said he will not resign as BuCor chief amid the controversy.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

BuCor restores visitation privileges for Bilibid inmates

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2019

Members of the Police Special Action Force frisk inmates following a peace accord event to stop violence amongst gangs inside the New ‘Bilibid’ Prison’s maximum security compound in Muntinlupa city, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 December 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has restored visitation privileges at New Bilibid Prison on Wednesday (October 30), almost a month after it was suspended.

BuCor already posted the schedule for each quadrant. They also said there will be no visitation allowed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

“Visitors will be subjected to the usual body frisking, strip searching if necessary and inspection of all bags and belongings prior to entry to any corrections facilities,” according to BuCor.

Visitation privileges were temporarily suspended on October 9 due to ‘safety reasons’ when BuCor demolished the kubol or shanties illegally built inside the Bilibid.—AAC

IED rocks Bilibid’s compound for rebel detainees

Marje Pelayo   •   October 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – While clearing operations continued inside the maximum compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), an explosion rattled Quadrant 4 around 10:00 AM on Friday (October 11).

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) immediately deployed K-9 units and a team of experts from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) to the site.

The authorities’ initial investigation discovered that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Also, two hand grenades and two blasting caps were discovered inside one of the kiosks.

“May sumabog doon, sir. Noong sumabog nag-alisan na kami. Muntikan na kami. Nandoon kami sa isang kanto (Something exploded. When the bomb blasted, we dispersed. We were that close. We were there at the street corner),” one inmate recalled.

“Pagsabog, bigla nang pinaalis (kami). Tinawag namin mga SWAT. (Sinabi) namin sa kanila na may sumabog (When the explosion happened, we were dispersed. Then we called the SWAT and told them about the explosion),” he added.

Authorities also noted that most of the inmates inside Quadrant 4 were members of different rebel groups.

According to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Gerald Bantag, the rebels were possibly training their co-detainees on how to manufacture explosives.

“Siguro gusto tayong takutin kasi may mga bali-balita. May intelligence report na itong mga extremists na ito ay nagtuturo kung paano gumawa ng bomba (Perhaps, they just want to intimidate us because there was an intelligence report about extremists who are conducting training on how to make a bomb),” Bantag explained.

Bantag assured that they are ready for any circumstance should there be similar incidents in the future.

“Tinanggap ko itong posisyon na ito at na-program ko na ang sarili ko, (I accepted this position and already programed myself in this,” Bantag said.

“Patay kung patay (I am willing to die if that’s what it takes),” he added.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered an investigation on the incident.

He ordered Bantag to file a written report and launch the investigation along with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to Secretary Guevarra, the explosion is an indication of the gravity of NBP’s security problem. – MNP (With reports from Sherwin Culubong)

DILG welcomes petition questioning legality of revised GCTA guidelines

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2019

Inmates listen during a peace accord event to stop violence amongst gangs inside the New ‘Bilibid’ Prison’s maximum security compound in Muntinlupa city, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 December 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has welcomed the petition filed before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act 10592 which increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates.

DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they are ready to defend their position, adding that the department along with the Department of Justice (DOJ) worked hard to promulgate the revised guidelines to “clarify the ambiguous provisions of the GCTA law that have led to past abuse in its implementation.”

“The revised IRR addresses the many inadequacies of the old IRR that were abused and taken advantage of by corrupt correctional officials,” Malaya said in a statement.

“We will be working closely with our statutory counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General, and the DOJ in vigorously defending the new IRR before the Supreme Court,” he added.

The DILG official also stressed that the law gave the DOJ and the DILG the authority and responsibility to craft the IRR.

Officers from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) who have the “necessary experience and technical expertise on the matter” helped in the crafting of the guidelines.

“The new IRR is one crucial step in the reform of the BuCor,” Malaya said.

A group of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) earlier filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify the revised IRR of the GCTA law, particularly the provision disqualifying convicts of heinous crimes from availing of time allowance for good conduct, loyalty, study, teaching and mentoring for “going beyond the law and for being tantamount to executive legislation.

The petitioners also urged the high court to order the BuCor and the BJMP to refrain from retroactively applying the exclusions introduced by the revised IRR which they said are disadvantageous to any prisoners.

“While we are confident of our legal position, the final arbiter will be the highest court of the land whose decision we shall honor and respect,” Malaya concluded.

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