Up to 5,200 prisoners die every year at the New Bilibid Prison maximum security compound.
At the Senate hearing, NBP Director Supt. Ernesto Tamayo, 20 percent of the 26,000 total population of the maximum-security compound, is said to have died from overcrowding.
According to Tamayo, they can no longer control pulmonary tuberculosis due to overcrowding.
Tamayo also clarified the 5,200 prisoners do not include those who died of riots inside Bilibid.
Sen. Richard Gordon asked for the death records for the last five years.
Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros reminded PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde of what he said in 2017 that only 26 inmates die inside the prison for six months.
Albayalde clarified that prisoners who died were those detained and squeezed in police stations due to the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
He said the jail capacity was only 60, but they needed to squeeze in 200 inmates in one cell.
Hontiveros also insisted that the Philippine Regulatory Commission should suspend NBP Hospital Corrections Technical Chief Inspector Ursicio Cenas for granting hospital passes to wealthy prisoners.
Prisoners die of malnutrition, P39 daily meal allowance per prisoner blamed
Senators lambasted the Bureau of Corrections for mishandling the prisoners’ daily meal allowance during the Senate hearing yesterday.
Catering service owner Angeline Bautista revealed she won the food supply contract for the Correctional Institute for Women in 2018 with a P39 per prisoner daily meal allowance bid.
However, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the government gave BuCor P60 per day per inmate budget based on BuCor’s approved 2018 budget.
“Bakit papakainin mo ang preso ng P39 kung ang budget na binibigay is P60, at least nung 2018? Saan napunta ang balanse?” Lacson said.
(Why would feed the inmates with P39 worth of meals a day when their budget is supposed to be P60 each, at least in 2018? What happened to the balance?)
BuCor officer-in-charge Melvin Ramon Buenafe said the remaining balance was used for the prisoners’ food during special events and activities.
However, Lacson did accept the explanation and said such acts could be considered technical malversation, which was seconded by the Commission on Audit.
“Sa totoo lang, puro sabaw, walang laman, at walang lasa kaya namamatay ang preso dahil walang bitaminang kinakain,” Gamboa said.
(The truth is, the meals are all soup, no meat and tasteless, which is why many prisoners are dying due to malnutrition.)
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