SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 – A former officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Bureau of Corrections testified on Thursday about the existing money-making schemes in the New Bilibid Prison, such as the entry of women for high-profile inmates, kidnapping, and 24-hour gambling.
Rafael Ragos told the Senate blue ribbon committee that there were many “unusual transactions” inside the national penitentiary’s maximum security compound, recalling his stint as OIC from November 2012 to March 2013 under then Justice secretary Leila de Lima.
He cited the “tilapia” scheme as an example, referring to female entertainers allowed inside by prison guards. One “tilapia” costs P30,000, he said.
“‘Yung tilapia nakakapagpasok sila diyan… babae para sa mga high-profile [inmates],” Ragos he said.
“For example may malalaking event sila roon, hihingi sila ng permiso, kami naman para ‘yung kanilang physiological needs medyo okay pinapayagan ‘yun. These will come in forms of dancers at entertainers, pero after while ‘yung iba nagiging girlfriend na at merong parang asawa,” he added.
Among inmates who have frequent visitors was convicted drug lord Peter Co, Ragos disclosed.
KIDNAPPING AND 24-HOUR GAMBLING
Ragos also exposed that the “wives” or “girlfriends” of these high-profile inmates were kidnapped after they leave the compound. The transaction for ransom were then conducted inside Bilibid.
“Ang alam ko ang mga involved may mga pulis pa na ka-batch noong mga nakakulong na dating pulis o kaibigan nila,” he said.
He also added that gambling exists inside Bilibid.
“May isang building na 24 hours ang sugalan…Ang alam ko nagsusugal sila, umaabot sila ng magdamagan.”
Ragos is one of the two new witnesses presented in the Senate hearing into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law. He is placed under the witness protection program.
Prior to his revelations, a wife of an inmate testified against the supposed “GCTA for sale” in Bilibid where some BuCor personnel allegedly promised early release to inmates in exchange of money.
The Office of the Ombudsman already ordered the preventive suspension of 30 BuCor officials, while President Rodrigo Duterte fired Nicanor Faeldon as corrections director following the controversies hounding the bureau. (Karen Macalalad/ AAD)