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Major changes await Bilibid

Major changes are set to resolve the seemingly unending corruption that continues to shroud the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II plans to replace all Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) guards manning the NBP with members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).

The NBP is one of seven operating units of the BuCor, which is an agency under the DoJ that Aguirre now heads.

But this plan will reportedly last for only three months before deploying the Marines to be their replacement. This is to avoid the SAF men from fraternizing with the convicts.

Contrabands, especially prohibited drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise known as shabu, have consistently turned up in more than 30 surprise raids conducted by the authorities inside the prison facilities.

This is no laughing matter, except perhaps for the convicted drug lords in the penitentiary, who think they can make a fool of government officials all the time.

It is impossible for these contrabands to find their way inside detention cells without the cooperation of certain prison guards whose palms are greased by drug money.

Despite incarceration, these drug lords still manage to direct their operations through the use of cell phones. Based on the information gathered, 75 percent of shabu being sold around the country is cooked inside the NBP.

To prevent the realization of these drug transactions, Aguirre intends to replace the penitentiary’s signal jammers.

In fact, he has already found a donor for a new set of Israeli-made jammers worth P10 million. Apparently, this will effectively block calls from phones that use signal boosters.

Furthermore, studies are being made to relocate the convicted drug lords and other high-profile inmates to a fully secured island very much like Alcatraz, where there are no signals for Internet or telephone communications, and escape is close to impossible.

Isolation from the outside world may hold the key to solve this problem.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column athttp://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)