MANILA — The riot which erupted inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday occurred after an inmate caught three high-profile Chinese inmates in the act of engaging in a ‘pot session’, Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
According to Aguirre, a fellow inmate named Clarence Dongail, who is also detained at Building 14, reprimanded the three Chinese inmates Peter Co, Tony Co and Vicente Sy after he caught them in the act of sniffing ‘methamphetamine hydrochloride’ or shabu.
Aguirre said that the three apparently felt bad about what Dongail said.
A few minutes later, Tony Co reportedly attacked Dongail, who happened to be inside the cell of convicted drug lord Jaybee Sebastian, with an ice pick.
”Sinaway sila nitong si Dongail na ikinasama naman ng mga Intsik kaya sumugod itong si Tony Co at sinaksak itong si Major Dongail kaya nagkaroon ng riot dahil yung ibang nasa tabi nag-join dalawa pa sa ngayon ang report patay na si Tony Co, 50/50 si Peter Co at si Jaybee Sebastian ay stable,” he explained.
Aguirre added that another inmate Edcar Singco was the one who informed Dongail about the shabu session.
The DOJ Secretary confirmed the death of inmate Tony Co in the fracas that started at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday while Peter Co, Sebastian and Sy were also hurt in the incident.
The three were brought to the Muntinlupa Medical Center for treatment, where Co was in serious condition while Sebastian was in stable condition, he noted.
The four inmates were among the ‘Bilibid 19’, a group of high-profile detainees transferred to the temporary custody of the National Bureau of Investigation after a raid spearheaded by then Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in December 2014 to curb illegal activities inside the national penitentiary.
They were later brought back to the NBP and detained at Building 14 along with 50 other high-risk inmates.
Aguirre said he had already ordered a thorough investigation on the incident as well as on how the inmates still managed to get their hands on illegal drugs despite the tight security imposed by the authorities.
A contingent from the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police has been deployed since July to secure the maximum security compound as part of the overall effort to eradicate the illegal drugs trade at the NBP.
“Yan din ang katanungan ko, yan nga sinasabi namin na 90 percent napigilan namin.May nakapasok ba or mga tinago nila yan but the fact is nagsa-shabu sila ngayong umaga,” the official said.
He said he has also ordered further tightening of security measures inside the NBP, particularly at the maximum security compound.
On Tuesday, authorities installed two South Korean-made signal jammers at the maximum security compound.
“Hihigpitan pa namin at may kailangan sigurong ihiwalay na mga inmates pero mag-uusap pa ang BuCor at PNP-SAF,” he added.
Aguirre also assured the public that there would be no whitewash in their probe and that there is no foul play behind the incident.
‘Hindi maganda para sa gobyerno na mamatay si Jaybee dahil siya ay inaasahan na mag-spill ng beans tungkol kay De Lima,” Aguirre added.
Sebastian and Peter Co were both named in the drug matrix presented by President Rodrigo Duterte as among convicts inside the Maximum Security Compound of the NBP who still manage to continue illegal drug operations despite incarceration.
The President earlier linked De Lima to these illegal activities inside the NBP, stressing that the latter allowed these during her term as DOJ chief. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com