Tip of the iceberg

EDITORIAL

Based on Wednesday’s initial findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon com mittee, the story of the new Bilibid National Penitentiary is that of a longstanding wanton whole-scale graft and corruption which if not stopped on time can cause great damage to the whole country. Based on the senate hearings which are currently being aired live on national television, the country’s premier jailhouse complex of 400 hectares is after all the CENTER of the illegal drug trade, and possible big time kidnapping, prostitution, gambling, and downright syndicated crime which are all being organized and conducted inside its four walls—and under the cahoots of its own personnel of the Bureau of Correction.

We noticed that practically all banned items inside the national jail ARE ALLOWED for a price: from use of cellphones, tv sets, five star toilets and spa, and bedrooms . From a six-month luxury-stay at hospital “sick pass,” ; or a three-day break in Hong Kong, beach resorts, shopping malls and outside the city, you name it, Bilibid prison can give it to a minimum, medium and maximum security convict depending on its own price system. As a convict you can tour the city at night with a driver for a fee and be back before sunrise, without prejudice to an all-night stand with prostitutes or co-gamblers.

And ——this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Multi million illegal drug transactions are being mulled inside Bilibid; drug lord convicts are privileged citizens; and “to minimize congestion” (now 27,000 inmates) there is a graduated pay in cash for “good conduct and time allowance” GCTA that can shorten a convict’s term into half . So if you’re a poor convict, sorry na lang, you may rot in jail, or just “disappear” just to make room for new convicts.

The crime syndicate within Bilibid has already taken so much deep roots that to immediately stop the malady or “go against” the present norm, one could cost one’s life. No wonder even their doctors are playing ball.

Our two cents’ solutions: revamp the entire Bureau of Correction ASAP ; change all personnel from top to bottom; cut down all cellphone signals and in the Bilibid surroundings; no more GCTA or time allowance until the convict is one year to go free and finish his sentence; finally rotate two batches of BuCor personnel coming from the armed forces: regularly as trained guards. Here’s the catch:

As you can see it’s now so easy to institute these reforms because all you need is one stroke of the pen of a very popular and strong-willed president who hates corruption to the bones.