De Lima OK with Gangs inside NBP sans illegal activities

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday said she saw nothing wrong with inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City forming groups or gangs, though she drew the line on their engaging in illegal activities while in detention. De Lima issued the statement in light of a recent National Bureau of Investigation probe that showed that a November 16 explosion at the NBP was connected to a supposed change of leadership in one of the gangs inside the national penitentiary. The leadership changes in the gangs included “Añora's” taking over as officer in charge/commander of the BCJ group, “Torres” as OIC commander of the Batang Samar Leyte group, “Mostrales” as OIC mayor of BCJ, and “Pepino” as commander of "Batman." De Lima stressed that, though she had no objections with their existence, the formation of these groups did not have the blessing of the government. "Walang pakialam ang management ng [DOJ-attached] Bureau of Corrections [which supervises the NBP]. Wala kaming pakialam kung sinong mga nauupo diyan na mga gang commander and mayor. Hindi yan nire-recognize officially ng BuCor," De Lima said. Also, another matter that troubled De Lima was that these gangs seemed to have been given too much freedom inside the jail. "Ang hindi ko lang nagustuhan... dati napansin ko kasi na mukhang masyadong pinagbigyan Itong mga gangs na Ito na medyo nag-abuso. Kaya nag-aaway sila, may power struggle," she said. De Lima had earlier ordered NBP officer in charge Rafael Ragos to get rid of illegal activities inside the NBP. Last August, convicted murderer Rolito Go was kidnapped from inside the national penitentiary but was later freed by his abductors. The NBI has recommended charges be filed against several individuals supposedly involved in the abduction. Furthermore, earlier this month, the imprisoned leader of the notorious Ozamis robbery group, Ricky Cadavero alias Kambal, was broken out of the NBP by armed men who posed as his visitors. Two prison guards were relieved following the escape. — DVM, GMA News