MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is looking into a claim by a disgruntled employee of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) that anomalies and irregularities have continued to thrive inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City despite supposed reforms.
De Lima said she intends to first determine the credibility of Kabungsuan Makilala, a former assistant head of the bureau’s bids and awards committee who claimed that VIP treatment, prostitution and corruption became worse in the NBP under BuCor director Gaudencio Pangilinan.
“Those (pieces of) information are again alarming, if they turn out to be true. I’m not saying everything said is true, that’s why we need to investigate,” she told reporters in an ambush interview.
De Lima admitted the allegations were “very serious” and “debilitating on top of being frustrating.”
“I thought those problems were already gone since they were tackled by our fact-finding in the case of former director (Ernesto) Diokno. It’s exhausting and disheartening,” she said.
De Lima and Pangilinan had a closed-door meeting in her office yesterday.
The BuCor director told De Lima, who has administrative supervision over him, that Makilala allegedly has an axe to grind after he ordered his transfer to the Davao penal colony.
Pangilinan said the supposed whistleblower owned a canteen outside the BuCor building that was demolished during the facility improvement operations implemented since Pangilinan took over the bureau in July last year.
“But in any case, those allegations – being very serious – should be investigated,” De Lima said.
She said she plans to meet with Makilala, especially after learning that the latter holds several documents to prove his claims.
Makilala reportedly alleged, among others, that Pangilinan had implemented infrastructure projects worth over P50 million in the NBP without the required public bidding. - By Edu Punay