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Remulla exposes corruption racket in BuCor prisons victimizing inmates

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla

JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla exposed on Monday the illegal practice of prison and jail guards in various detention and prison facilities in the country of getting a 12 percent to 20 percent cut from the money being sent via online e-wallets such as GCash to persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) by their loved ones to augment their food allowance.

In an interview with reporters during the ceremony for the release of 340 PDLs held at the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in Muntinlupa City, Remulla lamented that prison guards are taking advantage of PDLs right after being caught and convicted.

“We should not tolerate these people…we should not tolerate these practices,” Remulla said.

Remulla said this kickback system is victimizing not only PDLs in the facilities under the BuCor but also detainees under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) as well as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“The corruption inside [these facilities], particularly on PDLs, is really too much. We really have to address this,” Remulla stressed.

He said the information about the said illegal practice also came from PDLs who are complaining about the huge cut that prison guards are getting from the money being sent to them.

Under the prison rules, PDLs are not allowed to possess and use mobile phones while in detention or while serving their sentence inside penal facilities.

BuCor head Gregorio Catapang Jr., also confirmed the said illegal practice by prison guards to allow PDLs to use their e-wallets to receive money from their loved ones provided that they will get a 12 to 20 percent commission.

Catapang said they are planning to file charges and initiate summary dismissal proceedings against six jail guards who were caught in possession of PDLs money that was kept in their lockers.

The money, according to Catapang, is being loaned to PDLs by prison guards with huge interest.

“That is illegal and we will be filing charges against the lenders,” Catapang said.

Meanwhile, a total of 340 PDLs were released yesterday from various penal farms as part of the government’s decongestion program.

The BuCor said 128 of the 340 PDLs were released on parole, 165 had served their maximum sentence with good conduct time allowance.

There were 35 PDLs who also served their sentence with GCTA were released under Department Order No. 953 that states that the release of PDLs sentenced to life imprisonment or high-risk inmates shall be implemented with the approval of the justice secretary.   

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