How do inmates get hold of cell phones at NBP? | Malaya Business Insight

Reference:
Vigilia, W. (2018, February 01). How do inmates get hold of cell phones at NBP?. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved February 1, 2018 from http://malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/how-do-inmates-get-hold-cell-phones-nbp

How do inmates get hold of cell phones at NBP?
By WENDELL VIGILIA
February 01, 2018

SOME convicted Chinese drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison continue their illegal transactions through the use of cellular phones, which remains unabated under the Duterte administration.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency acting director for intelligence services Jigger Montellana told the subcommittee on judicial reforms yesterday that some illegal drugs the PDEA had confiscated came from transactions made inside the NBP.

“Most of these personalities are not captured in (the) radar of personalities we are already monitoring,” Montellana told hearing presided over by Rep. Henry Oaminal (PDP-Laban, Misamis Occidental).

Supt. Enrico Rigor, chief of the Legal and Investigation Division of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDED), confirmed the continued transactions, noting they were able to monitor telephone conversations of an individual outside the NBP and drug suppliers in the compound.

Rigor complained that the Anti-Wiretapping Law prevented them from gathering more evidence, a statement that did not sit well with Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia who called it a “convenient excuse.”

Rigor was referring to the proposed amendments to Republic Act (RA) 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law which would make it easier for law enforcers to go after illegal drug traders.

“Actually we (need) the anti-wiretapping law because as mentioned earlier, most of the activities there are concentrated on transactions using cellphones. So we continuously monitor the activities outside transacted inside the NBP, but unless and until the anti-wiretapping bill will be enacted, we cannot go against those incarcerated in the NBP,” Rigor said.

Garcia said: “I’m just aghast now when Supt. Rigor says that we cannot monitor the communications coming from these drug lords.

“I cannot accept the statement of Police Supt. Enrico Rigor,” she said. It may become a convenient excuse in order to say that we cannot really curb the illegal drug trade inside the NBP – where cellphones are prohibited – because we’re waiting for the new anti-wiretapping law.”

Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho said signal jammers were placed in the area of high-profile inmates at Building 14 of the Maximum Security Compound.

BuCor Internal Affairs Service Chief Atty. Frederick Santos said Building 14 has only two signal jammers while the gadgets for the rest of the area are still being procured.

Rabo admitted that there are also concerns about the effectiveness of signal jammers, adding there are no jammers at the Medium Security Compound.

Garcia said installing jammers “is a tacit (admission) of the fact that they (officials) cannot even implement that policy (prohibiting the use of cellphones).

“There is, I suppose, an existing policy to block all cellphone communications (from inmates). We bought (signal) jammers. In other words, cellphones are illegal. The reason you’re putting in jammers is because even if these are banned, I don’t know how cellphones still find their way inside (the NBP),” Garcia said.

Also present in the hearing were Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer in charge Supt. Roberto Rabo and some Justice Department officials.

Montellana said the new players in the NBP are not among the big-time personalities at the Maximum Security Compound.

The subcommittee hearing was an offshoot of the committee on justice’s hearing last year on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary which the administration largely blamed on now detained Sen. Leila De Lima, who was accused of conspiring with drugs lords when she was justice secretary under the Aquino administration.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal officer Daisy Castillote said there is no actual drug manufacturing and trade inside the NBP but transactions continue outside since drug lords have gained access to mobile phones.

NO EJK

The Duterte government maintained there are no extra judicial killings under the incumbent administration even as it welcomed the US State Department’s “cautiously optimistic” support for the Philippines’ anti-illegal drugs efforts and its growing appreciation of the results of the campaign.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the government’s war on drugs is anchored on respect for human rights and “we wish to reiterate that extrajudicial killings never had – and will never have – a place in the anti-illegal drug campaign.”

The PDEA, in its report to Malacanang last week, said only two deaths had been reported since the agency took the lead role in the anti-drug campaign in October 2017.

PDEA also reported that it dismantled a total of 174 drug dens and nine clandestine shabu laboratories up to December 2017, and seized 2,577.05 kilograms of shabu worth P13.24 billion.

A consolidated data on the anti-drug campaign coming from the PDEA, PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Customs also showed that a total of 81,919 anti-drug operations had been conducted while 119,361 drug suspects had been arrested and 3,987 drug suspects had been killed since the anti-drug operations started under the Duterte administration up to December 2017. – With Jocelyn Montemayor

Category: National | Malaya Business Insight

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