High profile inmates may be moved to island prison

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday, July 7, said he is “seriously considering” moving two high profile convicted drug lords to a prison island in Palawan.

Island prison Palawan
Caballo island, a rocky island near Corregidor. PHOTO CREDIT: Inquirer
Top tier drug lords Peter Co and Herbert Colangco, who were among those named by President Rodrigo Duterte, are high profile inmates living inside the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City. In a surprise inspection of the maximum security compound in 2014, it was found that the two were staying in luxurious quarters. While Co’s room was found to have a sauna, Colangco’s room was equipped with a music studio.

Bags and sachets of shabu and cash totalling more than P2 million were also recovered during the operation led by then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Aguirre, who made the proposal after Duterte issued a warning to 3 drug lords, said he is considering Caballo Island off Manila Bay and an unnamed island in Palawan.

“Meron na kaming kino-consider na ilang isla sa Palawan na talagang walang signal,” he told Malacanang reporters.

(We are considering an island in Palawan which doesn’t have a signal.)

According to Department of Justice (DOJ) chief, drug lords will be blocked from continuing their operations since there are no cellular phone signals in the island. Aguirre said the drug syndicates will not be able to operate without communication.

“You know that, and [it] was validated again, that without the cellphones, no transaction whatsoever will be done inside the New Bilibid Prison by these drug lords,” he said.

The planned maximum security prison will take a while to be built so Aguirre is considering transferring Co and Colangco to nearby prisons, including the detention facility in the Intelligence Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and one in Tanay.

Aguirre also emphasized plans to replace current prison guards with Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) members. He also revealed his intention to buy P10 million worth of signal jammer equipment for the national penitentiary.

Watch the video.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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