Jail had inflatable sex dolls, strippers

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 16 Desember 2014 | 20.01

Swoop ... National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives inspect the confiscated materials prohibited inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

A RAID at the Philippines' main prison has uncovered drug lords "living like kings" in luxury cells with stripper bars and jacuzzis.

The sex, drugs and bribery scandal has shocked a country inured to tales of official corruption.

The revelations were headline news on Tuesday, a day after police commandos swooped on the infamously crowded Bilibid prison complex to verify reports drug rings were operated from behind bars.

Police found methamphetamine or "ice", cash, inflatable sex dolls, a stripper bar and a jacuzzi spread across 20 air-conditioned "villas" built for convicted drug dealers, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

"The military should take over the prison, and all the people involved from top to bottom must be fired," Dante Jimenez, founder of the Manila-based watchdog group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, said.

"It's unfair that even after conviction, we're still not sure that justice has been served," added Teresita See, head of the Manila-based Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order.

Ms De Lima admitted after the raid on Bilibid, a sprawling suburban Manila complex built for 8900 inmates but currently housing 23,000, that the drug convicts were "living like kings".

They had the use of structures with marble-tiled bathrooms and hot showers, and access to mobile telephones and computers.

One room was stocked with an expensive whisky brand and another had a safe containing expensive watches and a stack of dollar bills.

The raid also turned up a small concert stage with rock music instruments and a room with an elevated platform, strobe lights and a mirror ball where police said strippers smuggled into the jail compound performed.

Raid ... National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives round up inmates inside New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Ms De Lima told reporters the privileged prisoners each had two million pesos ($48,276) in cash in their pockets during the raid.

"When you are summoned (by prison officials), you must have cash on hand, especially now that it's Christmas," she added.

Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu insisted that his government agency was unaware of the extent of the structures.

"It's like a maze, like a tunnel. When you enter you'll get lost because there are many people inside, many partitions. You'll need a guide," he added.

"It's only now that we're zeroing on it. Our task is to reform the system," he said, adding the luxury accommodation would be dismantled.

President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Herminio Coloma told reporters: "Secretary de Lima is conducting a thorough investigation and all those responsible will be punished."

However, both Ms See and Mr Jimenez alleged the government had long known about the problems and was only acting now to correct it.

"It's not just a drugs problem. It also concerns kidnappers. The masterminds and the financiers inside ... have direct access to the remnants of their gang outside" who continue to kidnap people, Ms See said.

Mr Jimenez, whose brother was murdered by a drug dealer now serving time at Bilibid, said endemic corruption in the prison system allowed prison officials to trade privileges for cash.

Convicts with cash are also regularly released for one night or even an entire weekend at a time, he alleged.

"In one case the inmate was taken to a hospital suite, where he received high-class prostitutes."

Mr Jimenez also said that in some provincial jails, convicts were at times freed to carry out contract killings.

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