This Sept. 19, 2019 shows Bureau of Corrections officials Senior Inspector Maria Belinda ‘Mabel’ Bansil and Officer 3 Veronica ‘Boday’ Buño
Screenshot from video of Sen. Richard Gordon
2 BuCor officials communicated with ‘GCTA for sale’ witness, NBI probe shows
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - September 19, 2019 - 5:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday revealed that it uncovered text messages confirming that two Bureau of Corrections officials were involved in transactions to tamper good credits of an inmate.

At the sixth Senate hearing into the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance law, the NBI reported that the mobile devices owned by “GCTA for sale” witness Yolanda Camilon, BuCor Officer 3 Veronica "Boday" Buño and BuCor Senior Inspector Maria Belinda "Mabel" Bansil communicated with each other via short messaging system on several dates last February.

Buño's mobile phone under probe

This was after Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, ordered the NBI to "dramatically" serve a warrant to open the contents of Buño’s mobile phone.

NBI Director Dante Gierran earlier said the bureau could not open Buño’s phone since it was passcode-protected.

They then applied for a warrant of disclosure which was granted by Presiding Judge Victoria Soriano Villadolid of the Manila Regional Trial Court branch 24.

Buño provided her passcode after the service of the warrant and it was subjected to digital forensic examination.

Witness Camilon, the live-in partner of inmate Godfrey Gamboa, earlier identified Buño and Bansil as among the officials she transcated with in the "GCTA for sale" scheme. 

Camilon claimed Bansil approached her to arrange the good conduct credits of Gamboa and process his earlier release. She paid P50,000 in tranches, expecting her partner’s release in March.

The witness also previously played a supposed voice recording of her conversation with Buño updating her on the transaction, which the BuCor official denied. Buño also claimed she never personally talked to Camilon.

WATCH: Witness plays alleged audio recording of 'GCTA for sale' in action

Senate President Vicente Sotto III in the previous hearing slammed Buño for having deleted her phone records but the BuCor official was firm on saying she never transacted with the "GCTA for sale" witness.

Text message shows BuCor officials, witness in communication

After the NBI’s probe, however, Gierran read the messages extracted from Buño’s phone which bared her communication with Camilon.

“It appears there were communication among the three of them,” Gierran told the Senate, referring to Camilon, Bansil and Buño.

“On February 21, 2019, Yolanda Camilon received a text messaged from Veronica Buno which states that ‘Ma’am I already advised Mabel na magkikita po kayo mamaya po,’ the NBI director cited.

Gordon, who was presiding the Senate probe, confronted Buño for lying under oath in the previous hearings.

“Nagsisinungling ka nang sinabi mo na wala kayong usapan?” Gordon told Buño, who still insisted that she did not communicate with the witness.

(You are lying when you said you never communicated?)

“Still no sir…. Hindi ko siya nakakausap pero nag-message ako sa kanya (I did not talk to her but I messaged her),” Buño said.

“Ang binabanggit ni Yolanda ay tinawagan ko siya, hindi po, hindi ko siya kinakausap. Yes, sir [nag-text ako sa kanya],” she added.

(What Yolanda was saying is that I called her, no, I did not talk to her. Yes, sir [I texted her].)

Pressed for answers on her deal with Camilon, Buño, later on, invoked her right against self-incrimination and sought for her lawyer’s advice.

The senators are still investigating the implementation of the GCTA law and the release of almost 2,000 inmates who committed heinous crimes.

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS GCTA GCTA FOR SALE MABEL BANSIL SENATE VERONICA BUNO YOLANDA CAMILON
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