The Office of the Ombudsman has sacked three Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officers after receiving what he characterized as credible accusations that they solicited bribes in exchange for the early release of convicts.
In documents signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires yesterday, terminated were Ramoncito Roque, the cop in charge of document processing, along with his colleagues Belinda Bansil and Veronica Buño, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. They were also perpetually barred from holding public office, and their civil service eligibilities were canceled.
The Ombudsman based its decision on the testimony of Yolanda Camilon, who said during a Senate hearing in September that the three officials asked PHP50,000 (US$985) from her in exchange for her husband’s freedom. The three officers denied her allegation, but Roque admitted that Camilon left an envelope full of money in his house, an incident which he did not report to his superiors, Rappler reports.
“Camilon’s lone testimony, given in a straightforward manner, pitted against respondents’ denials and conflicting statements in their counter-affidavits, is sufficient to establish probable cause for direct bribery against Roque, Bansil, and Buño,” the Ombudsman said.
The testimony emerged after the Senate investigated the alleged anomalies surrounding the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, which allows for the early release of inmates if they display good behavior in prison. The investigation started after news broke that convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez was going to be released from detention because of the GCTA, sparking a public outcry because of the heinousness of his crime and his spotty prison record.
The move to free Sanchez was shelved, while other inmates found to have improperly earned early release under the GCTA surrendered to authorities.
The Ombudsman added that the three officers’ alleged attempts to extort money “prejudiced the image and integrity of their office as it would create a public perception of corruption and incompetence” in the BuCor.
The Ombudsman also recommended the filing of graft and corruption charges against the three before the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong.
This article, 3 corrections officers fired, perpetually barred from gov’t for bribery, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!