BuCor chief says ''eight or nine'' high profile inmates died from COVID-19 in New Bilibid Prisons
The chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Monday said around '' eight or nine'' high profile inmates died at the New Bilibid Prisons due to the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).
Citing the Data Privacy Act, BuCor Director Gerald Bantag said he cannot reveal the individuals after he was asked in a TV interview if Jaybee Sebastian is among the fatalities.
“Due to Data Privacy Act or Law, we are prohibited to- we cannot confirm nor deny who are the (fatalities) but it is true that there are Chinese and Filipino drug lords (included) based on the record,” Bantag said.
He said 21 inmates succumbed to COVID-19 and ''eight or nine'' are considered as high profile.
“We have 339 confirmed cases and 320 already recovered while 21 PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) died... around eight or nine (were high profile inmates),” he added.
Bantag said he is scheduled to meet Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra around 1:30pm Monday.
“After my meeting with DOJ (Secretary Guevarra), it’s up to him on what will be his instruction,” he said.
Bantag said there is a directive from the Department of Health to cremate positive COVID-19 patients within 12 hours but he assured that coordination is being done with relatives of the inmates.
As to the ashes of the deceased, Bantag said relatives can claim it at the crematorium while those who are unclaimed are brought to BuCor.
“We don’t have a choice but to get it because the crematorium does not want to accept if there are still many ashes in their establishment,” he said.
On Sunday, a death certificate from a crematorium in Cavite circulated online and showed that a certain Jaybee Nino Sebastian from New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital in Muntinlupa City died last July 18 due to acute myocardial infarction from COVID-19 complications.
On October 2016, Sebastian, convicted of kidnapping-for-ransom and carjacking in 2009, accused opposition Senator Leila de Lima of conspiring with him and other drug convicts during her term as justice secretary in the drug trade inside the NBP to raise campaign funds for her 2016 senatorial bid.
He is one of De Lima’s co-accused in one of the criminal cases filed against the senator before the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City, in connection with the illegal drug activities inside NBP. Ella Dionisio/DMS