A BATTALION of Special Action Force police commandos has been deployed to secure the New Bilibid Prison and to guard against illegal drug operations inside the national penitentiary, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Wednesday.
Aguirre said the 320 SAF commandos will be scattered around the maximum security compound where life-term prisoners, political prisoners and other notorious criminals are detained.
“We will begin with the maximum security and Building 14 with 1 battalion or 320 troops. But the whole of NBP will be taken over,’’ Aguirre said in an interview.
Aguirre earlier said 75 percent of drug transactions in the country are happening inside the NBP.
The mobilization of the SAF troops is part of the government’s plan to use “shock and awe” tactics to paralyze the criminal operations inside the country’s national penitentiary.
The Justice Secretary said the country’s penal facility remains as a drug den despite the series of raids by the past administration.
Since November last year, the Justice Department led by then Justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, the National Bureau of Investigation and elite police forces conducted a total of 30 raids under Oplan Galugad.
The department is also looking at isolating high-profile inmates on a remote island to prevent them from conducting their illegal operations while serving their sentences.
Aguirre also revealed that drug lords detained in Building 14 have put up a P50 million bounty for his assassination.
He made this revelation during a visit to the NBP to oversee the deployment of SAF personnel.
The Interior Department on Wednesday created an inter-agency task force to help the National Police Commission investigate government officials alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The task force, called the DILG Inter-Government Operations Network Group or Digong will build up evidence against such officials, said Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno.
“With so many top government officials being linked to illegal drugs, Task Force Digong will seek to find the truth so that those who are guilty will face the full force of the law, while those who are innocent will be cleared,” Sueno said.
The Task Force will be represented by members from the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the Philippine Public Safety College, the Local Government Academy, and local government officials.
Sueno will head the task force, while DILG Undersecretary for Operations John Castriciones will be its deputy chairman.
The task force can make recommendations to the Napolcom for the filing of appropriate criminal or administrative charges, Sueno said.
“The President has imposed a three- to six-month deadline against illegal drugs. Task Force Digong will help make this happen through better cooperation among agencies and faster, immediate action,” Sueno said.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.