Reforms underway at Bureau of Corrections

A RECENT expose by a seasoned columnist in one broadsheet brought to fore shocking  anomalies inside the Bureau of  Corrections (“BC”) in Muntinlupa that have become a major embarrassment to our national corrections system.

Actually, such anomalies – which include unabated  illegal drugs peddling, ‘prosti-visitations,’  Very Important Person treatment of moneyed/celebrity inmates, blackmail/milking/extortion from detainees, detainees’ release to commit crimes outside and the like  – have long been persistent.

And there are damning evidence they are  promoted by prison officials, no less.

These unearthed irregularities have  been  an incredible source of extra income to not a few unscrupulous prison officials.

They also validated erstwhile persistent blind reference to the ‘heavenly life’ experienced by favored, high profile prisoners (Hubert Webb and his co-accused, then, and child rapist/former Zamboanga Congressman Romeo Jalosjos included) inside their maximum security cells.

Well, the Lenten mood came rather early to involved prison officials inside the National Penitentiary when newly-installed Prison Director Rodrigo A. Mercado began to swiftly implement reforms therein,  last week.

Widely perceived to be the “eyes and ears” of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima (the Corrections Bureau is an attached agency of the DOJ), Mercado began his ‘cleansing’ mission by a lightning raid conducted by the NBI (another DOJ attached agency) in the lairs of  ‘tipped’ high profile/influential detainees inside Bilibid.

That raid had reportedly resulted in some  heads quickly rolling off – via relief, suspension and even removal measures.

We were told irregularities and abusive practices  inside  the BC dates back to the time an Iglesia Ni Cristo General was appointed as its  Director not too long ago. (To be continued) Alex Almario


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