Dangerous Drugs Board Chair: New Bilibid management should be removed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 13) — Top officials of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) should be removed for failing to clean up the drug trade inside the facility, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Dionisio Santiago said Thursday.

"Para sa akin ah, hindi mo magawa 'yung mga function, pati mga guwardiya mo hindi mo madisiplina - pati ikaw, dapat tanggalin [For me, if you can't fulfill the functions, and you can't discipline your guards, you should be removed too]," Santiago told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"You don't deserve to be there," he added.

Santiago, who was named DDB chairman on July 5, also served as director of the Bureau of Corrections from 2003 to 2004.

NBP, one of seven national penitentiaries under the bureau, is led by Superintendent Roberto Rabo. The bureau is headed by Director General Benjamin De Los Santos.

When asked if he was referring to the head of NBP, Santiago answered, "Lahat, basta kung sino sila. Sino pa? Bakit ituturo ko - siya head eh. Siya ang dapat chop-in diyan eh."

[Translation: All of them, whoever they are. Who else? I don't have to point - he's the head. He's the one who should be chopped.]

Later in the evening, Bureau of Corrections chief Benjamin Delos Santos resigned, saying the issue about the resurgence of drug trade at Bilibid has made him "irrelevant."

RELATED: BuCor Chief resigns amid resurgence of drug trade in Bilibid

About a year since the assignment of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force to guard the NBP, the drug problem remains.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday slammed the resurgence of the drug trade in the prison, saying it was aided by cellphones. He warned inmates he would make them eat their cellphones.

Related: Duterte warns vs. return of drug trade

 

Santiago also said the elite police unit should not man the prison.

"Kahit anong ilagay mo, Marines 'yan, pag na-corrupt 'yan, eh tapos ka na. Maglagay ka ng maling tao, mali ang i-apply niyang programa diyan," he said.

[Translation: Whoever you put there, even if they're the Marines, if they get corrupted, you're done. If you put in the wrong people, they apply the wrong programs.]

Santiago headed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency from 2006 to 2011, and was Armed Forces chief in 2002-2003. He ran for senator under Duterte's party in the 2016 elections but lost.