New SAF troopers deployed at Bilibid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Four months since the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) manned the New Bilibid Prison, a new set of officers will be appointed to supervise the facility.

Police officials say, replacing the PNP-SAF personnel every few months is a way to prevent corruption at the national penitentiary. They explain, corruption starts when too much familiarity happens between jail officers and inmates.

"Human as they are, may chances of possibility na bibigay at bibigay yan. Masisilaw yan kung tatagal yan diyan," PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said on Friday.

The Justice Department said 95 percent of the NBP is now clean after SAF commandos confiscated 63 firearms, 12 sacks of deadly weapons, including ammunition and firearms, over 2,000 communication devices, P3 million-worth of cash, and illegal drugs inside the Bilibid.

The task of the new set of officers is to ensure that contraband will not enter the jail premises anymore.

"Siguro more on panatilihin nating walang makapasok na contrabands and continue 'yung human intelligence na na-put up natin sa loob," Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Deputy Chief for Operations Rolando Asuncion said.

Dela Rosa once referred to the NBP as the "command center" of the illegal drug trade in the country. Until now, he still can't fully vouch that drug transactions inside the NBP have stopped, especially with the most recent incident: a common-law wife of an NBP inmate was caught with more than 20 kilos of shabu in Makati last month.

Since mobile phones are now strictly prohibited at the NBP, Dela Rosa said drug lords are now transacting with their sources and clients through their family members who visit them in the jail.

"Dalawa lang ang solusyon diyan: It's either bawalan talaga sila sa pagkakaroon ng bisita, which is a violation of human rights or pagpapatayin na ang mga taong ito para mahinto na. Pero that cannot be done because it's violation to human rights at extrajudicial killings yan," Dela Rosa said.

Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo said they thought about putting up a glass enclosure so there won't be any physical contact with the inmates.

Initially, the Justice Department asked for the presence of SAF commandos at the NBP for three months while BuCor jail guards are being trained. But new BuCor Director General Benjamin Delos Santos said they may still need the SAF until the first quarter of next year.