Guards, drug lord’s gang in standoff at NBP

Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A standoff between prison guards and the group of drug lord Jaybee Sebastian reportedly took place in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) maximum security compound from Monday night to yesterday morning. 

Two sources privy to NBP operations told The STAR that Sebastian, armed with high-powered guns and clad in a bulletproof vest, resisted his transfer to Building 14.

The building, which used to house the execution chamber for death convicts, was renovated and reopened in July to house high-risk inmates.

The renovation started in December last year after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima led raids on the maximum security compound and discovered contraband, including illegal drugs and guns, in the kubols of 19 high-profile inmates.

De Lima, maximum security compound Superintendent Richard Schwarzkopf, and NBP spokesman Bobby Olaguer were unavailable for comment on the standoff.

Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, tasked to oversee NBP affairs, told The STAR to direct its queries to Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Rainer Cruz, whose mobile phone was unavailable.

Most influential

Sebastian, a convicted kidnapper and the leader of the Commando Gang, is one of the most influential drug lords in the NBP. 

For years, prison officials and guards reportedly gave him special treatment and he was detained at a fully furnished kubol, which he also allegedly used as an office to continue his illegal drug business.

He was also spared from the raids in December 2014, after which 19 high-profile convicts were removed from the maximum security compound and detained at the National Bureau of Investigation until Building 14 was ready.

Ready for battle

The situation in maximum security compound was tense Monday night. It took about 50 to 100 members of the BuCor’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit to pluck Sebastian out of his kubol, sources said.

“He was ready to shoot it out with the SWAT. His men were ready to kill,” a source said, adding that Sebastian “mobilized his forces against BuCor personnel.”

The standoff ended when Cruz sought additional personnel and revised an operational plan to get Sebastian without bloodshed.

According to a source, Cruz placed signal jammers at the building occupied by Commando Gang convicts to prevent Sebastian from seeking reinforcements. The jammers also prevented Sebastian from giving out orders to attack.

“They communicate through cell phones because he couldn’t get out,” the source said.

Cruz’s team eventually got hold of Sebastian and transferred him to Building 14 with 10 other inmates.

ACIRC BOBBY OLAGUER BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS COMMANDO GANG CRUZ DE LIMA JAYBEE SEBASTIAN JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA JUSTICE UNDERSECRETARY FRANCISCO BARAAN NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SEBASTIAN
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