Bureau of Corrections: From ‘pillar of justice’ to ‘criminal organization’

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

The investigation into the murder of journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa has uncovered how the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has turned into a big “criminal organization,” officials said on Monday.

“What was discovered from the in-depth investigation of Mr. Lapid’s death was the unfortunate transformation of a pillar of justice—the correction pillar— into a deep, large-scale and systematic criminal organization,” said a joint statement by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

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“A criminal organization exists and is embedded within a government office, and that office is none other than the [BuCor], which controls what the United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs describes as the biggest mega prison in the world,” it added.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla pointed to the recent confiscation of contraband goods, including illegal drugs, from inside New Bilibid Prison (NBP) as proof of criminal activities.

“I would say that the beer that was found, that was surrendered by the people, the drugs, computers, telephones, weapons inside Bilibid is a very, very strong indication of the presence of a criminal organization,” he said in a news conference.

“With a centralized purchasing system, a centralized way of doing contraband selling within a prison system, I think that that itself would tell you there is a criminal organization lurking within,” he added.

He did not give an idea as to how long the criminal activities have been going on inside Bilibid.