PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III wants to see a comprehensive crackdown on all officials and personnel who allowed the “luxurious” living quarters of convicted drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, Malacañang said Tuesday.
“A thorough investigation is being conducted and all those responsible for the illegal activities must be held accountable and punished,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
“Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has vowed that she will ensure that the accountability process will be comprehensive. Let us wait for the next actions of the Department of Justice on this matter.”
Coloma made his statement even as Senator Bam Aquino said heads must roll, including those of top prison officials, for making a mockery of the country’s justice system.
“With or without their knowledge, top prison officials are still responsible for the presence of contraband and perks given to special inmates inside the prison cells,” Aquino said.
Senator Francis Escudero said he was seeking a top-to-bottom reorganization of the Bureau of Corrections before the implementation of the new law to modernize it.
“Replacing the head is not enough,” Escudero said.
“That has been done several times before and it did not work.”
De Lima on Monday led a surprise inspection at the NBP following reports that convicted drug lords were continuing their illegal drug trade there.
Aside from illegal drugs such as shabu and several firearms, the inspection revealed that the “kubol” or detention cells of the convicted drug lords were equipped with luxurious fixtures and appliances such as a bath tub, a 48-inch flat screen television set, a Playstation 4, dining sets, a close circuit television camera, signal jammer, Internet broadband sticks and a life-sized sex doll.
At least P175, 000 and $2,000 in cash were also confiscated during the inspection.
In the cell or “kubol” of convicted drug lord Peter Co, authorities also recovered papers containing a list of names with corresponding amounts.
“This only confirms the reports that there are prisoners who are living in their luxurious cells here equipped with televisions and air-cons,” De Lima said.
“You will be surprised what you will see in those luxurious cells. I am disgusted.”
De Lima on Tuesday said all NBP officials from top to bottom had been ordered to explain why they should not be held liable for their failure to stop the drug trade and other illegal activities at the maximum-security prison.
“We will require all of them to explain. We will determine based on their replies who should be held administratively liable,” De Lima said.