Corrupt jailers, drug lords and narco politics

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

If the maximum security compound in the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) exposed the corruption in the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR), it could only mean that BUCOR Director Franklin Bucayu was no longer in control…control belonged to the 19 drug lords who used the power of their illicit money to get their luxurious apartments inside what used to be ordinary jail cells. If you ask me that was better than having a hospital arrest.

It also means that for one and a half years when he took over the helm of the NBP, Director Bucayu never did what a true commander of a prison would do…inspect ever nook and cranny of this jail. On this alone, he should resign in shame! But as of today, Malacañang has not announced his suspension or termination, which could only mean that Director Bucayu must have some powerful backers. There is no question that some of these 19 drug lords may be quietly funding some narco-politicians. Proof of this stems from the guns that were confiscated which were registered in the names of members of the House of Representatives!

So perhaps the investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) shouldn’t just focus on the corrupt jail guards or their officers. These people are no doubt mere pawns in this chess game. I’m positive that narco-politics is behind why those 19 drug lords who lived in total luxury even if they were inside the nation’s national penitentiary. More so that the latest reports revealed that the drug lords were tipped of the coming raid. In short, DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima who accompanied the dawn raid could have confiscated more contraband if those drug lords weren’t warned!

While still on the subject of prisons… perhaps there should be some kind of nationwide check up of all provincial, city or municipal prisons with the media in tow. This is the only way we can tell whether this corruption virus is happening not only at the NBP, or it must also be happening elsewhere.

This incident reminds me of the old Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) in Cebu City some years back before it was transferred to the hills near the Boys Scout Camps where the Cebu media found a special cell with a girl staying with Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) supreme leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. who was in jail for murdering his wife. That visit by the Cebu media brought a howl and had the prison heads removed from BBRC.

At the very least, all penitentiaries in this country should conduct a weekly inspection of all premises… meaning every nook and cranny of our jails so something like this can be prevented in the future. So who tipped those Drug Lords? For sure people high up in the DOJ. This is why BUCOR Director Bucayu should have been fired for his incompetence!

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So finally the US government represented by US Ambassador Philip Goldberg has acceded to the request by the Philippine prosecutors to have US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton under its custody. Last Thursday morning, I was watching Karen Davila on ANC interviewing US Amb. Philip Goldberg talking about the Jennifer Laude killing where the topic was on whether the US would give custody of Pemberton to the Philippines as mandated by the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). But the US Ambassador was literally word fencing with Karen, as he would not categorically state that he would give up Pemberton to Philippine custody.

I can understand the position of the US Ambassador because America is not only the last superpower in the world today, but Americans do not trust our Justice system. So too with us Filipinos who are sick and tired of the fact that 28-years after the EDSA Revolt… we still have a serious lack of justice! In that show, Amb. Goldberg mentioned to Karen that there was that case where a US Marine was killed by four drunken Filipinos in a posh village… and all the killers didn’t spend a night in jail.

If you looked at the wider or global picture, if the US gave up custody of Pemberton to Philippine custody, it would open the floodgates of demands for Americans to also give up custody of those soldiers who might also be in custody in countries like Japan or Korea who may also be in trouble for their crimes. This is why the US would refuse to give custody of this marine to us until somehow, Amb. Goldberg had a change of heart.

In the past two columns, we wrote about how the Americans really thought of us Filipinos from that book the “Imperial Cruise” written by James Bradley who wrote the national bestseller “Flags of our Fathers. In the end, I now believe that the Americans are here in Asia (now they call it the Asian Pivot) because of vested US interests, whose intention is to rule the Pacific and the Philippines as we’re close to China, Vietnam and Japan.

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