Bato warns ISAFP detainees against taking part in drug trade while in jail

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 9) — The country's former top cop is not letting up on the administration's campaign against illegal drugs, this time laying down the law at the Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) detention center in Quezon City.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa visited eight alleged drug lords inside the facility Wednesday – Herbert Colangco, Robert Durano, Jerry Pipino, Noel Martinez, Gernan Agojo, Jaime Patio, Thomas Donina, and Rodolfo Magleo.

While he said he was satisfied about the detention center's security, he wanted to let the detainees know he would be as strict as ever.

"Iniisip ko masyado kaming maghihigpit dun sa Bilibid, lahat lahat ay hinigpitan namin yung Building 14 at saka yung maximum, saka medium, baka mamaya wala na talagang transaction, magiging transaction sa droga dun, baka dito naman sila magtatransact. Dahil baka mamaya isipin nila na they have the privilege being state witness baka sabihin nila baka may utang loob kami sa kanila na pwede silang magtuluy-tuloy sa kanilang drug transaction," he said.

[Translation: I was thinking we will be very strict in Bilibid, we will be clamping down on Building 14 as well as maximum and medium, what could happen is there might be no more transactions there and they could all move here. They could think that since they have the privilege of being state witness, they might say we owe them a debt of gratitude and continue their drug transaction.]

Dela Rosa said he talked to the detainees and told them that while they were state witnesses, it could become "dying witness" if they continue in the drug trade.

However, after his inspection, Dela Rosa said his scenario might be unfounded as the guards and officers in the facility would be difficult to corrupt.

This is the second time the newly-installed BuCor chief visited high-profile inmates.

On Monday, Dela Rosa visited Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison where 60 high-risk inmates are detained.

Dela Rosa warned the inmates he could be their worst enemy if they continue selling illegal drugs under his watch, but said he could also be their ally if they behaved.

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.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles, Pia Garcia, and Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.