VIP normally stand for Very Important Person, but since we are talking about the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) then let the acronym stand also to mean Very Important Prisoners, since there are many of them.
I am referring of course to the 20 or so inmates, who because of their conviction for outrageous crimes that are mostly drug related, they were placed at the maximum security compound of the NBP.
Now one would think that being in a maximum security compound they would be living in a Spartan condition/accommodation befitting their stature – a menace to society, yet, powerful and influential drug lords – whose actions have to be monitored closely.
Perhaps, that was how the place was intended to be, but in time the criminals were able to turn it around 360 degrees by converting the place into their own luxurious dens, where it became at the same time their seat of power as they continued their odious illegal drug activities.
By the time the place was raided by different law enforcement agencies headed by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, the convicts were already living in large, air-conditioned cells or kubol with hot and cold water readily available, flat screen TV sets, laptops, and Wi-Fi connections. They also found sex toys, a stripper bar, a Jacuzzi and even a state-of-the-art recording studio inside the premises.
Subsequent raids dreadfully yielded more illegal drugs, wads of cash, firearms, including a fragmented hand grenade and a 9mm caliber springfield armory, and hundreds of cellphones.
Like the three wise monkeys with the proverbial principle to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, the NBP officials are acting the same way, saying, they don’t have knowledge of what was going on.
Simply said, this is what happens when one is corrupted, even in a critical place like the NBP – it makes one see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.
So this brings me to the pronouncement made by presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, saying, “It’s systemic and personnel, right? I mean, you’ve got people who are being bribed to allow… I mean, these things don’t happen without cooperation from those penitentiary officials. So it’s both personnel and systemic.”
But, of course, and I don’t think that needs to be argued.
And whose fault is that, if I may ask?
This is the result of the country’s justice system qualifying the rich, the notorious, the infamous, as very important prisoners and according them special treatment.
In effect government is not actually correcting the misdeeds of these miscreants inside the ‘correctional institution’, but rather it is tolerating their criminal acts by giving them exceptional treatment instead of subjecting them to hard labor befitting of who they really are and not losing the sight of what they do every minute of their stay inside the NBP.