Panelo suggests blocking phone, internet signals in jails

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As reports arose alleging prisoners of having internet access while in jail, a Palace official suggested to block phone and internet signals in prisons. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — As reports arose alleging prisoners of having internet access while in jail, a Palace official suggested to block phone and internet signals in prisons.

“All you need to do is cut that off. Who will cut that off? Syempre the operator ng Smart, ng Globe ganyan ka-simple [Of course, the operators from Smart and Globe. It's that simple],” said Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo in a Palace briefing on Monday.

He said it would be similar to the signal-jamming protocol effected during official events like state visits, except this would be an all-year round restriction.

“They are using communication signals to commit illegal acts then might as well,” Panelo said.

He added that he will relay this suggestion to President Rodrigo Duterte.

This comes as reports surfaced showing high-profile prisoners in the Bilibid prison posting online while in detention, sparking speculation of possible corruption among prison officials.

During the fourth Senate hearing into the Good Conduct Time Allowance policy, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson showed photos posted by a convicted carjacker. The photos were allegedly taken and shared from inside the Bilibid prison back in 2017.

“This would indicate overconfidence that they would be protected no matter what they do. Para magpost ka sa Facebook, hindi sila nag-aalala na baka mabuko na may cellphone ako [For you to post on Facebook, then you are not concerned about getting caught with a phone],” Lacson said on Monday.

Recently sacked Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon admitted the proliferation of cellphones is an issue.

“There is really a need to investigate. In fact some of the personnel were caught bringing in [a] cellphone,” Faeldon said.