Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Bilibid Luxuries: Let Rich Convicts Pay

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago reiterated Wednesday her proposal for the government to let rich prisoners pay for their “kubols” since these have already been built.

“Several years ago, I recommended that we should follow the procedure in the United States where they are allowed not necessarily luxurious but at least improved circumstances of detention over those who are just treated in a regular manner,” Santiago told reporters on Wednesday.

According to media report, Santiago said she recommended several years ago that the Philippines should follow the practice in the United States where inmates are allowed to avail of improved cells.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Bilibid Luxuries: Let Rich Convicts Pay

Earlier it was reported that Justice Secretary Leila De Lima vowed after shabu, cash, and luxury items like Rolex watches and 48-inch TV, were found inside the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP’s) maximum security compound during a surprise inspection yesterday.

The inspection of the prison cells was conducted by De Lima and operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The prison cells in the maximum prison facility house convicted drug lords.

Items discovered were some 500 grams of a substance believed to be shabu, a 48-inch TV set, Jacuzzi, Rolex watches, sound system, musical instruments, refrigerator, PlayStation 4, and cash in local and foreign currency.

Santiago also reiterated that the Justice Department must be transparent with the identities of these officials who have been protecting the system, saying the officials are criminally liable.

The senator does not agree, however, with renewed calls to bring back the death penalty.

On Tuesday, Senator Vicente Sotto III proposed that the death penalty be revived particularly for high-level drug traffickers like the ones who were found to be enjoying luxuries while in jail.

Santiago pointed out that the Philippines has international commitments to abolish death as a punishment for crimes.