Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his support for a Senate bill that proposes the establishment of a separate facility for prisoners of heinous crimes during the Senate regular session on Wednesday, September 25.
“The proliferation of heinous crimes has ignited the call for a tougher and more definitive stance against crimes,” Go said. He added, “I have always been steadfast in my position against any and all forms of criminality, especially heinous crimes.”
Go stressed his support for the measure, saying that it will ensure that convicts involved in heinous crimes will not be a threat to anyone while in prison and while the reinstatement of death penalty is still pending in Congress.
“It is the same reason that I am pushing for death penalty. In the absence of that, I support the proposal for a separate facility to ensure that they will not be a threat to society or to their fellow inmates and the prison guards,” said Go.
“That convicts of these crimes are housed in a separate facility is pursuant to the State’s mandate to ensure and maintain the security of the public in general,” he added.
Senate Bill (SB) No. 1055, or an An Act Establishing a Separate Facility for Prisoners Convicted of Heinous Crimes, provides for the creation of the maximum penal facilities in secured and remote locations to ensure that unwarranted outside contact will be prevented. These institutions will be built in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is tasked to determine the said locations.
According to the proposed measure, the facilities will also be equipped with state-of-the-art information and security systems, such as surveillance cameras, capable of round-the-clock monitoring of inmates. High security locks, doors and perimeters will also be installed in the proposed facilities.
Meanwhile, during a joint interview with new Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag, who paid a courtesy call in the Senate, Go affirmed his support to Bantag as the new BuCor chief and reiterated to him President Rodrigo Duterte’s directives to reform the correctional facilities immediately.
“Full support kami sa BuCor. Kung ano ang kailangan nilang pasilidad, kung ano ang pwedeng gawin sa loob ng Muntinlupa at iba pang penal colonies sa bansa, full support kami,” said Go.
“Sa katunayan, suportado ko ang panukalang batas (SB 1055) para sa mga pasilidad. Ikalat natin sila (inmates) sa buong bansa,” he added.
Asked about his plans for the agency, Bantag reiterated his commitment to reform BuCor and put an end to the anomalies happening there with the help of other concerned government agencies.
“Sana po maibigay ang coordination na kailangan natin sa ibang government agencies para malinis ang BuCor. Nandito naman po ang ating senador, ang ating President para umalalay sa atin,” said Bantag.
As for the situation of the drug lords, Bantag said, “nandiyan sila (sa loob), kalat kalat lang.”
Go interjected in jest, saying “’Yung mga drug lords, ‘wag na kayong mag-overstay diyan sa hospital, ‘di na kayo magigising.”
Asked if he has already met with BuCor officials, Bantag said that he already did, and that he warned them to stay away from corruption or suffer harsh consequences.
“Kinausap ko ang mga opisyal noong unang araw, nag-observe ako. Ang sabi ko sa kanila, ang magdala sa akin ng pera, ang kurakot, kakatayin ko,” Bantag said.
“Basta ang sabi ng ating mahal na Pangulo, mahal na senador, kung ako ay pumalpak ay ipapako ako sa krus kaya pagbubutihin ko,” he added.
Using his facial hair as a metaphor for the anomalies in the correctional facilities, Bantag said he will not shave it as long as corruption remains in BuCor.
“Sa totoo lang galing ako sa uniformed personnel. Kailangan talaga malinis. Kaso pangako ko sa sarili ko na hangga’t nandito ang balbas ko, hindi pa maayos ang BuCor,” Bantag said.
The country’s correctional facilities have been embroiled in corruption scandals following the revelation of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law controversy where more than 2,000 heinous crime convicts were erroneously released due to the wrong implementation of the law and the “hospital pass for sale” corruption scheme where inmates paid BuCor officials to get admitted in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital.