Filipinos suspect that hospitals are being used by moneyed individuals as refuge when they get into trouble with the law. Rich inmates have adopted the ruse to continue their illegal business inside the supposed maximum-security New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Doctors of the inmates’ hospital inside the national penitentiary facilitated the drugs trade by selling certificates for hospital admission that high-profile detainees exploit to use the infirmary which is free from the usual jail restrictions as their base of operations, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said yesterday.
Go exposed the illegal transactions happening inside the NBP Hospital and which he vowed to ask the Senate blue ribbon committee to probe by summoning doctors involved in the alleged “hospital pass for sale.”
His colleague, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the going rate is from P200,000 to P2M for confinement passes.
In an ambush interview, Go divulged eight prominent inmates conduct their illegal business inside Medical Ward 3 at the Annex in Building 14 of the Maximum Security Compound.
“It involves several personalities. The illegal drug trade continues in NBP with the NBP hospital as the new venue for the illegal transactions,” Go said citing information from an inmate.
The inmates are in cahoots with officials including doctors of the NBP Hospital to go around strict rules inside the penitentiary and conduct their nefarious trade.
Go said high-profile inmates, who are detained due to drug-related cases, are faking their ailments just to be admitted in the NBP Hospital.
More details out soon
“That is why it is called hospital pass for sale because even they are not sick, they should not be confined in a hospital, but they are still there. So they should be reviewed and investigated,” Go said.
He, however, refused to divulge how the transactions happen, saying he will disclose this during future Senate investigations in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) scandal.
Sen. Ronald de la Rosa, a former BuCor director-general, said he was suspicious about the alleged “hospital for sale” because, during his stint, he noticed two high-profile inmates were confined inside the NBP Hospital for an extended period.
“I suspect something fishy is going on because I was wondering why drug lords like (Ahmin) Buratong in Pasig, who led the shabu tiangge (and) Raymund Dominguez, who killed the son of Evangelista who also became a drug lord, were always confined in the hospital,” De la Rosa disclosed.
He added that when he took over the post, De la Rosa ordered both to leave the hospital and were brought back to Building 14 of the Maximum Security Compound.
Dela Rosa said there are several information that he received when he was BuCor head but clarified it did not happen during his stint.
The senator added the inmates stayed for months and even a year inside the NBP Hospital.
“They showed a medical bulletin which could be made up by their doctors who connive with them,” De la Rosa said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said he will ask Senate blue ribbon panel chairman Richard Gordon to summon the doctors of NBP Hospital to be included in the probe.
“I would request the chairman to issue invitations or summonses to those doctors inside the hospital. There are reports that our office received that it costs ranging from P200,000 to even P2 million just to be confined or admitted in the hospital. And there’s more board and lodging amounting to P30,000 a day,” Lacson said.
“That will not happen if there will be no doctor that will certify. So we need to find out what is the flow of communication once an inmate, a PDL, would request confinement in the NBP hospital,” he added.
The said information was also affirmed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III saying that this was new information for them.
“It also came to my attention. I was also informed about that issue, and it is being used by persons who are not sick. Persons deprived of liberty who were not sick…This is a whole new different type of perspective that we are seeing here,” Sotto said.
200 prisoners recovered
The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, reported 200 prisoners released through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) had surrendered.
This was revealed by no less than PNP Chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde during a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Albayalde said of the 188 prisoners who have surrendered to various PNP units, 29 convicts were already turned over to BuCor.
The PNP chief said for the classification of crimes, 64 were cases of murder, 62 cases of rape, 21 cases of robbery with homicide, nine cases of homicide, seven cases of rape with homicide, five cases of robbery with rape, four cases of dangerous drugs and parricide, two cases of kidnapping with murder, frustrated homicide and murder and frustrated murder, and one for murder and robbery, attempted rape, carnapping, robbery, rape and arson and kidnapping.
Albayalde said with the 15-day deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte nearing, he asked those who still have not turned themselves in to abide to the Chief Executive’s directive.
Faeldon out for good
There will be no more government positions in the offing for former BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte said the recently-dismissed BuCor director general “has had enough controversies” during his stint in public service.
“No, I don’t think so. He has had enough of controversies in the last few years. But I still believe… I do not believe that he is dishonest,” the Chief Executive said in a recent television interview.
Mr. Duterte publicly wielded the ax on Faeldon last week for his “disobedience” to orders regarding the early release of high-profile heinous crime convicts by virtue of their supposed good behavior while behind bars.
He, however, drew flak over his subsequent remarks that he still trusts the former mutineer for being “honest” and “upright”.
Panelo, meanwhile, argued that maybe Faeldon wouldn’t want to be appointed in another government office.
“For all we know he doesn’t even want to be reappointed. And the President agreed. He said, ‘Yes. For all we know, he doesn’t want to,’” the Palace official said in a press conference yesterday.
Panelo likewise welcomed the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to suspend 27 BuCor personnel, for six months without pay, allegedly involved in the “GCTA for sale” scheme inside the New Bilibid Prison NBP.
According to him, it was “the correct thing to do” following Mr. Duterte’s prior announcement that he wants the anti-graft court to probe the reported irregularities within the BuCor.
“They apparently have probable cause,” stated Panelo.
“The President said it should be referred to the Ombudsman so it could conduct its investigation. The expectation is we want the truth on the matter in the bureau to come out so the heads will roll,” he added.
With Kristina Maralit and Francis T. Wakefield