No new prisoners to enter Bilibid — Remulla

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
No new prisoners to enter Bilibid � Remulla
Undated photo shows of New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Miguel De Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines —  The Department of Justice will be suspending the entry of new inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City due to recent outbreaks of violence at the facility.

In a press briefing Friday, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said that the country’s main penitentiary complex will be closed to new prisoners to decongest the facility, which has grappled with chronic overcrowding for years, as well as to protect persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) from warring factions inside the jail.

“We’re imposing a moratorium on the entry of new prisoners in the New Bilibid Prison. We’ll find a way to bring them to other facilities,” Remulla said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“We will stop increasing the population in the NBP. That will decrease, but it will no longer increase," Remulla said.

Remulla added that inmates can be brought to other penitentiary facilities such as the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm, the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, and the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm.

Remulla said he will be writing a letter to Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. about the moratorium, which is set to take effect immediately.

‘Let’s spare them’

Remulla hit the "enculturation" taking place inside the New Bilibid Prison, which has recently been placed under red alert status following a commotion inside the compound. At least one PDL died and nine were injured after an inmate opened fire this week.

The Bureau of Corrections lifted the red alert status on the NBP on Thursday but visitation rights will remain suspended until further notice.

"Our point of view here is simple. Let’s not enculturate the people that can avoid it. Let’s spare them from the travails of having to go through an institution like the New Bilibid Prison,” Remulla added.

Remulla also mentioned the long history of scuffles and violence inside NBP.

Besides the eruption of violence this week, Remulla floated the possibility of several mass graves within the NBP following the discovery of a deceased inmate’s body inside a septic tank within the national penitentiary.

During the Friday briefing, Remulla refused to disclose more details about the decapitated body that was found inside the septic tank, saying that the public should instead be spared from its "sordid details" given the graphic nature of the incident. — With reports from The STAR / Daphne Galvez

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