Do lifestyle check on BuCor officials, solon urges Palace

Do lifestyle check on BuCor officials, solon urges Palace

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Facade of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), with the sign of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). (Image from the BuCor website)

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang should heed the call of slain radio broadcaster Percy Lapid: Do a lifestyle check on Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials, Rep. France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list said in a statement issued on Monday.

“The twists in the Percy Lapid case are puzzling. And in my view, this has deeper roots,” Castro said in Filipino,

“It would be prudent if authorities would follow Percy’s tip of conducting a lifestyle check of past and present BuCor officials if they are indeed living within their means or have dipped their fingers in the illegal activities inside,” she added.

Castro, a member of the House Makabayan bloc, also wondered about the death on Oct. 18 of Cristito Villamor, a New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmate who was pinpointed by self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial as the middleman in the deal to take out Lapid.

The NBP is under the control of the BuCor, which in turn is an attached agency of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“We also hope that an independent autopsy of the supposed ‘middle-man’ is not too late and evidence can still be gathered on how he died,” she said.

“As it is we have received reports of many issues in the [NBP] from contract killing, the militarization of the prison system, as well as the different forms of corruption in NBP. If such things happen [inside the NBP]then how can we reform and bring back prisoners as productive members of society? Their situation might just worsen inside,” she added.

In a press conference last Oct. 18, Escorial did not mention Villamor’s name. BuCor officials said that they could have secured Villamor only if the information had been handed out to them quickly. They said they only learned of Villamor’s identity after he had already died .

The Philippine National Police (PNP) stated earlier that it tried to provide the information to BuCor, but the name provided by Escorial was not found in the NBP database.

Meanwhile, the PNP chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., said that the BuCor should have segregated all those with “Villamor” as their surnames so that Escorial could identify the middleman.

Lapid — Percival Mabasa in real life — was gunned down at a gate of the neighborhood where he lived last Oct. 3. Several groups and public officials called for a thorough probe, stressing the need to protect journalists from threats due to their line of work .

—WITH A REPORT FROM IRISH PEREZ (TRAINEE)

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