Senators believe presence of BuCor accomplices behind convict releases

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Sen. Sotto disclosed that a "group” inside the BuCor probably accept millions of pesos as payment for the release of hundreds of convicts from NBP.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III disclosed yesterday that an “organized group” inside the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) probably accept millions of pesos as payment for the release of hundreds of convicts from prison. 

Sotto said that Senate Blue Ribbon committee will try to confirm this allegation, especially now that there are reports about the connection of the asssination of a top BuCor records official last month to the controversial release of several high-profile inmates and convicted Chinese drug traffickers from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). 

“We have intelligence reports that I already shared with Senator [Panfilo] Lacson, so in the hearings [today], we will see if we can uncover them or not,” Sotto told reporters. 

According to him, the killing of BuCor officer Ruperto Traya last Aug. 27 in Muntinlupa City by unidentified gunmen was apparently linked to the release of prisoners convicted of heinous crimes. 

He said based on the reports he received, the killing of BuCor officer Ruperto Traya last Aug. 27 by unidentified gunmen in Muntinlupa City was apparently connected to the release of inmates convicted of heinous crimes.

However, other sources said the murder was related to illegal drugs. 

Prisoners as witnesses 

At that time of Traya’s death, the 53-year-old BuCor official was the second highest official at the agency’s records office. He was the one who processed documents for the release of rape and murder convict Antonio Sanchez and other high-profile convicts. 

Sanchez’ release then triggered public outcry. 

Sotto also added that there could be testimonies of witnesses from the inside who would testify to the veracity of such happenings. 

“If the one who gave [the bribe] will not admit to it, and the one who accepted will also not confess, what about the one who gave money but was not freed [from prison]? What if there will be the one who will testify that he saw money changing hands?” 

The Senate President stated that this “group” apparently uses several conduits between convicts who wish to be freed and corrupt BuCor officials who can make their wish come true. 

This process involves millions of pesos, Sotto added. 

All BuCor officials 

When Sotto was asked if BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon was part of the group, the Senate President answered that nearly all officials in the bureau were involved in the anomaly.

However, he declined to give more details as the chamber still yet to continue its inquiry.  

The Senate, according to Sotto, is trying to trace the informant of the text message, which were supposedly received by Elvira, Sanchez’s wife — informing her that her husband was about to be released. 

When Elvira was asked by the senators to give her phone for tracking during a Senate hearing, she told them that she had destroyed the phone as she had  been receiving offensive messages and death threats in the past weeks. 

The senators did not buy Elvira’s reasoning as well as her claim that she has only met Faeldon last August 21 — when she asked Faeldon why her husband had not yet been released. 

The senators stated that to be able to trace the source of the number that sent messages to Elvira would confirm reports of the existence of the “organized group”. 

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