Bato faces alleged drug lords on Day One as BuCor Chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 7) — There's a new tough guy inside New Bilibid Prison and it's none other than Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa.

On his first day as BuCor Chief, dela Rosa visited Bilibid's Building 14 where 60 high-risk inmates are detained.

The former Philippine National Police Chief came face to face with convicted kidnapper Jaybee Sebastian and drug lord Peter Co, who are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary.

"Anong masasabi mo, Peter Co? Patuloy pa rin? Tigil na? Ikaw, Jaybee Sebastian? Tagal nang tumigil? Wala na talaga?" he asked the high-profile inmates.

Dela Rosa warned the inmates he could be their worst enemy if they continue selling illegal drugs under his watch.

"Ako wala akong pakialam kung mayaman kayo, marami kayong pera, siga kayo. Dito, right here, right now, ako ang siga dito... I swear gagawa ako ng paraan na ihinto ko yung ginagawa niyong kalokohan," he said.

But he said he could also be their ally if they behave.

"Kung kayo'y mabuti, mabait dito, kakampi niyo ako. Poprotektahan ko kayo," the BuCor Chief said.

In December 2014, then-Justice Secretary Leila de Lima conducted a series of raids inside Bilibid to confiscate the contraband items owned by the inmates. Among the items found by the authorities are illegal drugs, firearms, cash, and even a jacuzzi.

Dela Rosa said he is not taking the inmates' word that the drug trade inside Bilibid is gone, and they should not test his resolve.

"Dapat wala nang mangyaring drug transaction dito after nang nag-usap. Ang sabi ko sa kanila, that would be my last personal talk to them. I am their best friend but their worst enemy," he said.

While dela Rosa isn't setting a deadline to end the illegal drug trade inside Bilibid, he said he'll put drug lords out of business at whatever cost.