By Jaime Pilapil
ILLEGAL drugs is a well-entrenched multi-billion trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila)—with millions in drug money slathering its taint on some officials of the Bureau of Corrections and the Department of Justice, a reliable source told The Manila Times on Saturday.
He revealed that while Building 14 functions as command post, certain areas of the 10-hectare maximum security compound serve as laboratory for manufacturing methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
Convicts with 20 years or more in jail terms stay at the maximum security compound. Building 14 is within the maximum security compound but it has a separate gate accessible from the main road.
Building 14 is the exclusive cell for druglords, who still manage to ply their illegal drug activities by using cellular phones in giving instructions to their subordinates. Cellphones are prohibited in any penitentiary but guards allow druglords to own mobile phone units in exchange for huge sums of money.
“The laboratory is tightly guarded. The irony is that government employees are guarding the convicts to manufacture shabu,” said the source, a high-ranking official of Bureau of Corrections, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity for fear that he would be killed by the drug syndicate.
In fact, the informant said, at one time in the past, the Department of
Justice, the agency which directly supervises BuCor, had used K-9 dogs to sniff out the clandestine shabu laboratories inside the facility.
“But shabu experts were a bunch of geniuses. The sniffing dogs just stood up and refused to move forward to pinpoint the laboratory. It turned out, the shabu makers sprayed a very obnoxious scent that the dogs could not tolerate. For a few minutes the place was inhabitable,” he said.
He said sometime in early 2000, around nine sniffing dogs were turned over by the Philippine National Police to NBP to help in stopping the entry of illegal drugs. “But these K-9 dogs were helpless. They died eventually. We even spent thousands for the training of our guards to take care of the K-9 dogs.”
The informant said it is difficult to locate the shabu laboratories because these are collapsible and portable. “At one time, during a raid, the shabu paraphernalia were found hidden inside a septic tank obviously to hide the shabu’s odor.”
In connivance with guards, the drug syndicate was able to smuggle outside of the maximum security compound the manufactured shabu, some placed in plastic containers and some in sachets.
The Times was able to confirm these revelations from another official, a former superintendent of NBP, who said that millions of money were being shared by NBP and BuCor officials, including some officials of the Department of Justice.
“Millions of money can always turn your eyes blind and your ears deaf.
(The cash flow) goes as far as Padre Faura (a street in Manila where DoJ head office is located),” the former superintendent said.
“It is difficult to reject these grease money. Not just because they are huge, but because they will kill you,” he said on the brink of tears, “just like what happened to some.”
Asked who were those corrupt DoJ officials, the source identified them and asked The Times not to publish their names.
The former superintendent said the NBP superintendent post is not just prestigious and rewarding in terms of payola. It is breath away from the most coveted post of assistant BuCor director.
“Once you become an assistant director you control all facets of NBP operations,” he stressed.
He said a director who is a former police official is very much welcome at BuCor.
“Actually, we rejoice every time the new BuCor director is a former police official because he is seen as corruptible,” the NBP official said.
The official said if only illegal drugs will be eradicated at NBP, the problems that bedevil the bureau is half-solved.