Maximum shame

Maximum security penitentiary New Bilibid Prison is again in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the alleged assassin of hard-hitting journalist Percy Lapid, Joel Estorial revealed that the hit job was executed inside the infamous prison.

The detention of former Senator Leila de Lima was triggered by the squealing of so-
called high-value detainees who pointed to De Lima as benefiting from a drug network originating from inside NBP.

It turned out during the investigations that the drug lords were virtually running the jailhouse as headquarters for their nefarious trade.

There were also frequent talks about inmates being suited up as assassins with the complicity of prison officials. The hitman then returns to his prison cell to create the perfect crime which only happens in the Philippines.

Estorial surrendered to authorities out of fear for his safety following the release of his photo along with the announcement of a P6.5-million bounty for his arrest.

It is not the first time that the NBP was tagged as a den of syndicates which begs the question of what held up the reforms drafted during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

Now, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said changes would have been instituted even as he committed to uncovering the mastermind of the cowardly act.

He admitted that the murder of the broadcaster has deep roots.

NBP Director General Gerald Bantag was tasked to act on Estorial’s revelations.

The assassin’s revelation underscores the need for an overhaul of the NBP, which based on Remulla’s assessment, may require the transfer of the detention facility.

“The problems in Bilibid needed to be uprooted because the problems go back to generations. The guards of Bilibid feel an entitlement to the positions that they occupy and that the temptation is so great that it is so hard to check on these people,” he said.
Another humiliating turn of events was the frequency of jailbreaks which is not impossible considering the alleged recruitment of gunmen among the inmates.

Remulla must be quick with the reforms since Filipinos’ patience is being tested. What happens to the confidence of the people when institutions of justice become the symbol of widespread and unbridled commission of crimes?

The Justice chief himself was incredulous at how inmates are being sold mobile phones for P300,000 to P500,000 while electricity is blatantly stolen by prison guards.

The priority of Remulla is what he called the regionalization of prisons which will be costly but may provide a permanent solution to the NBP problem that seems to have piled one on top of the other over the years.

This is a problem in which the highest office must be involved to ensure that the solutions are permanent and prevent the recurring disgrace for the nation of convicts running crime rings inside the penitentiary,

What more can be humiliating for the Filipino nation’s psyche than that?

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