20% of Bilibid inmates die every year due to overcrowding, hospital head says

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FILE PHOTO. Around 20 percent of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), or approximately 5,200 individuals, die every year due to overcrowding, the chief of the NBP hospital said Thursday.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 3) — Around 20 percent of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), or approximately 5,200 individuals, die every year due to overcrowding, the chief of the NBP hospital said Thursday.

Minsan hindi natin ma-contain minsan ‘yung PTB... pulmonary tuberculosis,” NBP hospital medical chief Ernesto Tamayo said in a Senate hearing on the alleged irregularities at the national penitentiary.

[Translation: Sometimes we cannot contain pulmonary tuberculosis.]

Tamayo, later on, noted that the estimate includes inmates who die because of violence inside the detention facility.

‘Hospital staycation’ scam

Senator Risa Hontiveros during the hearing raised the issue about some inmates purportedly faking illness to stay in hospitals outside the NBP.

The practice, which Hotiveros called “hospital staycation scam,” allegedly involved convicted drug lords conniving with some officials of the NBP hospital.

Ito ay modus na ginagawa ng mga convicted drug lords kasabwat ang mag awtoridad para gawing mga hotel at lugar bakasyunan ang ating mga hospital lalo na po sa panahon ngayon ng epidemya,” the senator said.

[Translation: This is the modus of convicted drug lords who conive with the authority to stay in hospitals as if they are in a hotel for a vacation.]

Citing testimonies from former inmate and Bukidnon town Mayor Jose Galario Jr., Hontiveros said some inmates even have personal cooks, watchmen, and nurses inside NBP hospital.

Sinabi po ni dating mayor Galario na pinag-iimbentuhan ng illness ‘yung ilang may kayang convicts para makapag-pahinga, bakasyon sa mga ospital,” he said.

[Translation: Former Mayor Galario said some convicts are faking their illness so they can rest and stay in the hospital.]

NBP hospital doctor Ursicio Cenas said some inmates indeed request to be admitted to hospitals outside NBP for illnesses such as diabetis, bronchial asthma, and heart disease, among others.

Hontiveros said the Senate panel should recommend Cenas to be stripped off his medical license for "unprofessional, unethical or dishonorable conduct."