Press Release
September 7, 2023

Robin Pushes Guidelines to Empower Bilibid's Commander of the Guards

To prevent another escape from the New Bilibid Prison, Sen. Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla on Thursday sought guidelines that would make sure the Commander of the Guards there will have sufficient personnel and authority.

Padilla stressed this among other reforms following the Senate's hearing on the escape from Bilibid of Michael Catarroja, who said he managed to escape because there was no keeper in the grounds.

"Siguro sa susunod magkaroon ng guideline na ganoon, kung kaya ng opisyal ang position. Parang doon nanggaling. Hindi ko kayo sinisisi, tapos na ang sisihan. Dapat ngayon na siguro in aid of legislation kami ni Sen. Tolentino, pag-usapan namin kung paano hindi ito mangyayari uli (We need guidelines to make sure the commander of the guards is capable of fulfilling his or her duty. This is not the time for finger-pointing. Sen. Francis Tolentino and I will find ways through legislation to make sure this escape does not happen again)," said Padilla after hearing the testimony of Corrections Senior Inspector Purificacion Hari.

"Mabigat na position ang commander of the guards (Being a Commander of the Guards is a serious position)," added Padilla, who had been incarcerated in Bilibid for more than three years.

Padilla also suggested to Bureau of Corrections Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. to make sure the Commander of the Guards is "siga (respected)."

During the hearing, Hari cited a shortage of personnel under her when she was appointed as Commander of the Guards. She said she had to tap women to escort Persons Deprived of Liberty. She added she was surprised when she was appointed to the post.

Padilla lauded Hari and resigned Bilibid Deputy Director Angelina Bautista for taking command responsibility instead of making excuses.

"Yan ang kailangan natin, accountability, inaamin agad kaya nakakawala ng init ng ulo. Minsan sa hearing namin palpak na nagmamagaling pa (We need people like them, who take accountability instead of making excuses or blaming others)," he said.

Meanwhile, Padilla reiterated his call to ensure the rights of PDLs are respected, in accordance with the Nelson Mandela Rules of the United Nations.

He also pushed anew for funding to build new structures in Bilibid and for the approval of his bill to regionalize Bilibid, to address the problem of overcrowding.


Robin: Kailangang Tiyaking 'Siga' ang Commander of the Guards sa Bilibid

Kailangan ng mas mahigpit na patakaran para tiyaking "siga" ang Commander of the Guards sa New Bilibid Prison, para tiyaking hindi maulit ang pagtakas ng mga persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

Isa ito sa repormang iginiit nitong Huwebes ni Sen. Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla, sa patuloy na pagdinig ng Senado sa pagtakas ni Michael Catarroja, na nagsabing wala siyang nakitang keeper nang pumuga siya.

"Siguro sa susunod magkaroon ng guideline na ganoon, kung kaya ng opisyal ang position. Parang doon nanggaling. Hindi ko kayo sinisisi, tapos na ang sisihan. Dapat ngayon na siguro in aid of legislation kami ni Sen. Tolentino, pag-usapan namin kung paano hindi ito mangyayari uli," ani Padilla matapos marinig ang salaysay ni Corrections Senior Inspector Purificacion Hari.

"Mabigat na position ang commander of the guards," dagdag ni Padilla, na nakulong sa Bilibid ng higit tatlong taon.

Iminungkahi niya kay Bureau of Corrections Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. na "maglagay ka ng siga na Commander of the Guards."

Ayon kay Hari, kulang ang tauhan niya nang naging pinuno siya ng mga guwardiya. Dahil dito, aniya, kahit mga babae ang kailangang maging escort ng PDL. Dagdag ni Hari, "nagulat" siya nang ginawa siyang commander of the guards.

Humanga si Padilla kay Hari at dating Bilibid deputy director Angelina Bautista - na bumitiw sa kanyang pwesto - dahil may command responsibility sila at hindi gumawa ng palusot.

"Yan ang kailangan natin, accountability, inaamin agad kaya nakakawala ng init ng ulo. Minsan sa hearing namin palpak na nagmamagaling pa," aniya.

Samantala, iginiit muli ni Padilla ang pagrespeto sa karapatan ng mga bilanggo na naaayon sa Nelson Mandela Rules ng United Nations.

Nanawagan din si Padilla na mapondohan ang pagpapatayo ng gusali sa Bilibid at maaprubahan ang panukalang batas para ma-regionalize ang Bilibid, para matugunan ang overcrowding doon.

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