SOME 160 high-risk inmates from the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) will be transferred to Caballo Island near Corregidor.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the inmates will be coming from the NBP's infamous Building 14 where notorious drug lords and convicts are imprisoned, and from the maximum security compound.
The certainty of their transfer was high, Aguirre stressed, noting that incoming Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) head retired Marine Major General Alexander Balutan and some prison officials have already conducted an ocular inspection of Caballo Island.
Caballo Island is located east of Corregidor. Formerly called Fort Hughes, it is currently occupied by the Philippine Navy.
He added that members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) and BuCor personnel would man the facility in Caballo.
“We will just repair some facilities to suit our needs with minimum expenses. This is in line with our aim to decongest NBP,” Aguirre said.
As for the drug lords, the justice chief underscored the need for their transfer and isolation to end their drug activities.
Meanwhile, Aguirre said investigation into how illegal drugs have proliferated inside the prison is ongoing.
He said he already talked to previous BuCor directors about the drug problem in the NBP.
On PDEA list
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Isidro S. Lapeña yesterday confirmed that Peter Lim, the Cebuano businessman who last month surfaced at the office of President Duterte in Davao City to deny his being a drug lord is the same person on their list of high-value drug targets.
“Lim’s name is included in the updated list of targeted individuals linked to drugs that was submitted to President Duterte. The list is a product of regular intelligence workshops where PDEA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) validate information about drug suspects. Upon validation, they will be the subject of future negation operations,” said Lapeña.
Lim is now under investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation for his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade. He presented himself to the NBI after being advised by President Duterte to report to the agency and volunteer to be investigated on his alleged drug links.
“PDEA is still waiting for the result of the NBI’s investigation on Lim. Once evidence indicates that Lim is one of the top three drug lords operating in the country, then the NBI will file a case against him before the Department of Justice,” Lapeña said.
The PDEA chief however said that lack of a warrant of arrest is preventing authorities, the PDEA included, from arresting Lim.
With Alfred Dalizon