Bilibid ‘VIP inmates’ deny raising bounty for Duterte, Dela Rosa assassination

With just days before the new administration takes over, it seems like some people are scrambling to hold on to what they’ve got.

Incoming Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa recently claimed that millions of pesos had been offered as a reward by drug lords detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to have him and President-elect Rodrigo Duterte dead.

Dela Rosa said this was the response of high-profile prisoners to Duterte’s vow to eliminate the drug problem in the first six months of his administration.

However, 16 of the so-called Bilibid “VIP inmates” denied that they were plotting to assassinate Duterte and Dela Rosa.

On Wed, Jun 22, the inmates’ lawyer, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, sent a letter to outgoing Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Emmanuel Caparas.

“The letter was from Jaime Patcho, German Agojo, Mario Tan, Jerry Pepino, Engelberto Durano, Rodel Castellano, Tomas Donina, Noel Martinez, Eustaquio Cenita, Herbert Colangco, Jojo Baligad, Clarence Dongail, Rico Caja, Joel Capones, Gilberto Salguero, and Edgar Sayo Cinco,” reports Jerome Aning in Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In the letter, the 16 inmates collectively stated, “We are not involved in this plot, if it [is] really true. We are afraid that this might be a way of ‘public conditioning’ so that we will be eventually silenced and the corruption that happened here inside NBP in the previous administration [will] be concealed.”

Along with the letter was a three-page handwritten petition signed by the prisoners who protested their being labelled as “high profile inmates” or drug lords and crime lords.

“Our being labeled as ‘high-profile inmates’ has no basis and the truth is we are protesting this before the court and Commission on Human Rights as this is but part of the harassment being done to us in connection with the controversy over the protection racket under [NBP’s] previous administration that benefit the real crime lords here,” they claimed.

The report noted: “Of the 16 inmates, six — Agojo, Durano, Martinez, Colangco, Baligad, and Capones — were among the 19 prisoners moved in 2014 from the NBP to the National Bureau of Investigation  compound.

“This was after a raid led to the discovery of contraband such as money, drugs and luxury items, including a jacuzzi, inside their well-furnished ‘kubol’ or quarters inside the prison.

“They were returned to the NBP last year but taken to Building 14, a highly secure and tightly guarded structure isolated from the 13 other buildings within the prison compound.”

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