MANILA, — Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Franklin Bucayu on Thursday admitted his failure to suppress the alleged illegal activities of high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian due to the pervasive gang culture inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
During the justice committee hearing on the Bilibid drug trade at the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro asked Bucayu why he failed to completely eradicate the hold of Sebastian in the illegal operations during the Dec. 15, 2014 raid, which resulted in the transfer of 19 high-profile inmates.
Bucayu said the intelligence group reached a “consensus” to retain Sebastian in the maximum security compound since he was “more manageable and cooperative”, noting that there should be “no vacuum of leadership inside the NBP”.
”The group initially believed that Jaybee was more manageable and cooperative. That was the consensus of the group to avoid disorder among gangs right after the segregation of the 19 (high-profile inmates),” Bucayu said.
He explained that the gang culture inside the Bilibid necessitates a rush for leadership which could result in a violent riot if that void is not filled.
The former BuCor chief, however, noted that Sebastian’s retention was only temporary since Building 14, which was meant to detain high-risk inmates, was still under construction at that time.
”Based on the culture and the observations of activities there (in the NBP), the guards use inmates in helping them maintain order inside. That’s what’s happening,” Bucayu said.
Bucayu also lamented the lack of segregation capability, which is the “real disease” hounding the country’s prisons.
“It has become a fort walled city, that’s why it’s very difficult to handle them in a supposedly standard procedure,” Bucayu said.
Bucayu asked then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to request for a budget allocation in installing a 100- or 200-capacity jail to segregate high-risk inmates who could influence the general Bilibid population as a means to stamp out the illegal activities.
However, according to Bucayu, De Lima was not able to provide support for the proposal.
Castro, ending his interpellation, was skeptical about Bucayu’s statements, noting that Bucayu was a “flimsy witness”. PNA-northboundasia.com