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Ex-justice exec denies link to prison scandal

  • Written by Hector Lawas
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 303

FORMER Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III yesterday challenged inmate Herbert Colanggo to show proof linking him to transfers of convicts from the national penitentiary to other penal institutions in exchange for huge sums of money.

In a statement, Baraan vehemently denied the allegation made by Colanggo during Monday’s inquiry of the House of Representatives into the illegal drugs trade in NBP.

“Colanggo’s claim is a complete nonsense. I challenge him to produce any document that shows I approved any transfer of inmate/s within the Bilibid compound,” he stressed.

The former Department of Justice official, who was supervising undersecretary of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in the previous administration, said Colanggo’s statements before the House against him were “outlandish” and “a total impossibility.”

“The transfer of prisoners within the Bilibid Compound, e.g. from the medium security to the maximum security, is decided exclusively by the BuCor director. I did not have that authority to cause or order any such transfer. In instances like this, the BuCor Director would decide alone, and would not formally seek the approval of the Office of the Secretary,” he explained.
   
Baraan also belied Colanggo’s allegation that the former DoJ official even had a bag woman named “Susan” who allegedly collected P500,000 from every inmate who requested to be transferred to another compound in the NBP.
   
“I do not personally know of any employee in the Technical Staff whose name is Susan. I inquired from Director (Maria Charina Buena) Dy-Po and she informed me that two employees in her office carry that name. What I am certain of is that I do not have -- with either of them -- that kind of dealing that Colanggo generally described in his outlandish claim,” he stressed.
   
In his testimony, Colanggo claimed that his fellow inmates would come up to him whenever they wanted another inmate transferred from one security compound to another.
   
He claimed that he would arrange the transfer by getting in touch with Baraan’s camp through a certain “Susan.”
   
In one instance, Colanggo said Baraan and “Susan” asked for P500,000 for an inmate to be moved from the medium to the maximum security compound.
   
Another time, Colanggo said, he would give Baraan P3 million to transfer an inmate, but would ask P4 million from the requesting Chinese inmate so he can earn from the transaction.