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DoJ wants more BuCor control

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

Had the Department of Justice (DoJ) given more control other than administrative supervision over the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the row over the road closure at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) could have been prevented.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra offered this view in light of the renewed animosity between the residents, local government unit (lgu) and the BuCor over the road closure at the NBP.

Due to the said controversy, the Muntinlupa City Council was prompted to declare BuCor Director General Gerald Q. Bantag persona non grata for closing the road in the NBP reservation last 26 November.

The closed road is the access to the Katarungan Villages and schools near the NBP.

Guevarra mentioned that if Congress gives back a little more control to the DoJ over its attached agencies like the BuCor it’s possible the unpleasant incident would have not happened.

The Justice secretary said that Republic Act 10575, the BuCor Act of 2013, “diminished DoJ control” over the bureau. DoJ now exercises only administrative supervision over BuCor.

The road closure last 26 November prompted Guevarra to hold a meeting last 29 November with BuCor Deputy Director General Gabriel P. Chaclag.

Guevarra said that after he talked with Chaclag in a consultation meeting, the BuCor agreed to remove the road block off Katarungan Villages as soon as a control gate, which was the original plan, has been put up.

Guevarra advised BuCor to hold consultations first with the DoJ and LGU before enforcing road closures in the vicinity of its prison facilities.

Guevarra said that as mother agency, the DoJ reminded them that it’s important to consult with the department for guidance on policy matters, and to show courtesy to the LGU which has political jurisdiction over the BuCor properties.

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