A prisoner at the New Bilibid Prison, set to be freed next month, confessed to the Senate on Monday that a Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) official accepts money for the early release from jail.
Godfrey Gamboa was sentenced to four years of imprisonment for falsifying public documents.
He revealed that he felt sorry for the elderly minimum security inmates who would even die behind bars while those who had done grave offenses and detained in maximum security are being freed early.
Talking was rife between prisoners and guards and officials to have privileges inside — early release, cell phones, and television.
Gamboa admitted that he wanted to speak the truth in spite of the harm he may get from it.
“I know I will be killed. If I am returned [to jail], I know what will happen to me.”
However, Gamboa will remain under Senate custody through the review of the justice committee into the application of Republic Act No. 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
The testimony of Gamboa supported his partner Yolanda Camilon’s earlier statements that they had paid P50,000 for their release on good conduct.
Although, he was not released. They demanded for the return of their money and then eventually testify before the Senate.
Sale of good conduct credit
Senior Insp. Maribel Bansil, Corrections Officer 3 Veronica Buño, and Staff Sgt. Ramoncito Roque, BuCor officials that were implicated by the couple, denied their involvement in the sale of good conduct credit.
Camilon said it was Bansil who took the bulk of payment she offered. However, Bansil said she only brought Camilon to Roque on “good faith,” because she had asked for help.
“We’re public servants and she is our client,” Bansil added.
Gamboa also took their fight with Bansil light, mentioning of the death threats that the late BuCor chief administrative office Ruperto Traya, who handled inmates’ records, had received.
The couple thought Bansil was just reasoning then to stop them badgering her.
And then on August 27, Traya was shot dead in Muntinlupa.
BuCor officials are probably hiding something
Bansil stated that it was Camilon and Gamilo who are mad at Traya because Gamboa’s credit of 95 days was reduced to 45 days for good conduct.
She said Gamboa would go to his relative in Malacañang if he got fed up.
Gamboa denied this but Bansil said she had proof that Camilon had visited Malacañang.
Buño also contradicted Camilon’s statement of having a phone conversation with him to follow up the payment for Gamboa’s release.
The Corrections officer stuck to her story even after Camilon already played back one of their conversions, saying that it was not her on the phone.
Sen. Richard Gordon, however, doubted BuCor officials’ denials as the text messages and call logs that were shown looked like they had already deleted some.
“They’re really hiding something,” Gordon told reporters.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said that for him, the voice on the phone was Bueno’s. The call would be subjected to a voice analysis, though, just to be sure.
There were also payments for conjugal visits then, according to Gamboa, but he believed this stopped when BuCor chiefs Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Nicanor Faeldon headed the sectors.
Inmates were open to use mobile phones and even posted messages on Facebook, said Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
The senator showed a 2017 Facebook photo of Raymond Dominguez, who was sentenced for carjacking, with a woman, which seemed to be inside the Bilibid.
These happenings indicate that guards are not as strict as they claimed and should be.
“This would indicate overconfidence, that they’re protected inside and no matter what they do, they’re protected.”
There were these hospital passes for sale stories also that inmates buy passes from BuCor employees to stay at the hospital in the prison even if they are not ill.
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said he had received this information after visiting Bilibid on Monday.
He said that there were reports that jailed drug lords would just casually go in and out of the hospital and trade drugs while there.
Go learned, by talking to inmates, that GCTA law was being abused by corrupt officials to get money from prisoners and then give them false hopes.
Lacson also asked BuCor legal officer Fredric Santos about his illegal drug sessions inside Bilibid.
Santos answered the senator negatively, but Lacson said he’s already getting information about his drug sessions with Chinese drug lords.
“I’m going to get that evidence. I almost have it,” Lacson said.