Dispatch from Crame No. 966: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the successive violent incidents at NBP

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It seems that riots and scandals have become more prevalent and deadly in the New Bilibid Prison since Duterte took office.

From the so-called “witnesses” against me getting hurt, stabbed or killed, to high-profile PDLs dying suspiciously from COVID-19, and to the reported 13 dead and dozens hurt from two separate riots that happened within the last 30 days.

The no. of reported casualties – four (4) – in the latest incident on Nov. 9, may not even be the true figure; it could be more. And why were there firearms? How were they smuggled and who smuggled them? Firearms and other dangerous contrabands were supposed to have even flushed out already during the series of raids there during my time as SOJ. Bakit meron na naman?

These successive violent incidents reflect an endemic environment within the NBP flowing from gross mismanagement and bad or repressive policies. It cannot just be hostilities or animosities between and among rival gangs.

Nito lang, may nakarating na impormasyon sa akin na binubugbog daw ang mga ilang inmates na nahuli o nasumbong na mga lumalabag sa mga patakaran ng NBP. Ganito na ba ang kulturang pinaiiral dito? Nahulog ba ako sa ibang dimensyon na iba na ang disciplinary protocols and measures sa NBP? O sadya bang halang ang bituka ng mga namumuno at nagpapalakad ngayon doon?

This is the result when a brutal tough-guy wannabe appoints brutal sycophants like him to lead the NBP. When the leadership stops or chooses not to see the PDLs as humans that need to be reformed, and treat them like savages – or worse, enable them to kill each other, if not kill them outright.

Mahigit apat na taon na ang gobyernong ito ni Duterte, pero imbes na solusyunan ang problema sa Bilibid, eh lalo lang pinalala.

Palibhasa, puro drama, puro yabang, puro pasiga-siga. Puro anomalya naman ang resulta! Ang lakas pa ng loob ninyong isisi sa akin ang mga nangyayaring kabulastugan diyan gayong lalo niyo lang pinasama ang sitwasyon.

Iron-fisted, draconian policies without concrete structural, organizational and physical infrastructure reforms, as well as change in mindset, simply won’t work. To paraphrase former DOJ Asec Geronimo Sy in a recent Rappler article: Forget about prison reforms if we don’t change first our hell-hole prisons. As I’ve always been saying, severe congestion is the root cause of prison-based criminality and other ills in our correctional system. ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 966, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_966

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