DOJ orders probe on leak of memo on inmates’ perks at AFP detention facility

MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II ordered Bureau of Corrections Director General Benjamin De los Santos to investigate the leak of a confidential memorandum on the alleged giving of special privileges to high-profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) temporarily detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Detention Center in Camp Aguinaldo.

The leaked confidential memorandum dated Dec. 9, 2016 signed by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Legal Office chief Alvin Herrera Lim addressed to Delos Santos shows the minutes of the Dec. 2 conference of the counsels of the BuCor, AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) regarding the high-profile Bilibid inmates being held at military’s detention facility.

“When pressed for comment, elements of both PNP and BuCor invoked that they are just following the express instruction of the Hon. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II to allow the entry of the above-enumerated gadgets in return for the testimony they have during the congressional inquiry on the proliferation of drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons,” an excerpt of the document said.

”In view of the alleged report of the leakage of confidential memorandum dated December 9, 2016 for the Director General from Chief of Legal Office of the Bureau, Atty. Alvin Herrera Lim, you are hereby directed immediately verify and investigate the said incident, and and if warranted, to file the appropriate administrative charges to those officials or employees involved. Please submit your report to the undersigned, as soon as possible,” Aguirre said in his one page memorandum to Delos Santos dated Feb. 10 but was only released to reporters on Monday.

Aguirre has earlier denied claims of Senator Leila De Lima stating that he has restored the privileges of inmates of the NBP who testified in the inquiry of the House of Representatives on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the national penitentiary.

“I absolutely deny it. I made no such order. However, allow me to point out that Senator De Lima used the term “restores, it only means that she is admitting that such privileges that she claims were restored were existing during her time as Secretary of Justice!”, Aguirre said.

“She must be referring to her stint as Secretary of Justice when such privileges abounded and were tolerated in the NBP. She must have a lot of spare time to reminisce about her past. You can only reminisce about factual things, things that actually happened,” he added.

Aguirre remained unfazed as he dared de Lima to present evidence to back her accusation.

He also believes that the leak of the confidential document regarding the alleged special privileges granted to high-profile inmates was meant to prevent him from getting the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA) for his post.

“Ang motibo is malapit na yung confirmation hearing ko (The motive is because my confirmation hearing is nearing),” said Aguirre when asked about the possible reason for the disclosure of the document.

Aguirre is again scheduled to face the CA on Wednesday. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/