DOJ clarifies terms of transfer for inmates

MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday clarified the terms for the transfer of convicts at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

"If the transfer is to a facility not controlled by the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections), the court that committed the PDL to the original penitentiary should at least be notified or its approval secured. But if the transfer is made to a BuCor extension facility, such as a military camp by agreement, no court approval is required as long as custody and control remain with the BuCor," Guevarra said in a statement.

This came after reports that among the inmates from the New Bilibid Prison's Building 14 in Muntinlupa City, who were transferred to the barracks of the Philippines Marines Corps in Taguig City, is convicted drug lord Peter Co, who took the witness stand against detained senator Leila de Lima on her supposed drug links while she was still secretary of justice.

Also transferred to the Marines facility were convicts Hans Anton Tan, Jojo Baligad, Vicente Sy, Froilan Trestiza, Nonilo Arile and Joel Capones, who also testified against de Lima; Chua Che Ket, Rico Caja and Allan Senogat.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he ordered the transfer of the inmates, citing security reasons.

"Unya naay issue nga naay uban, wa nako ipapreso ngadto sa penitentiary -- - Muntinlupa. Gipabalhin nako dira sa Marines. Ngano? Tungod kay nahadlok ko nga naa pay daghang bata-bata si de Lima nga nabilin diha ug kanang mga testigo sa pag-kontra niya og naa diha, ihawon gyud na. Sa pag-abot og panahon, wa na'y muistorya sa tinood. (And there are issues being raised that I didn't send some to prison, the penitentiary --- Muntinlupa. I handed them over to the Marines. Why? Because I was scared that de Lima would have more henchmen and witnesses. They will really be killed. By then, no one would be able to tell the truth.)" Duterte said in his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony and laying of time capsule of the housing project for the victims of the September 2018 landslide in Naga City, Cebu. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency