Newly appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag on Tuesday said he would ban cellphones in the New Bilibid Prison, even among BuCor employees, in his goal to improve the institution in three months.
"Opo, kasama na po ako doon. Kasi kung mag-ge-greyhound tayo nang mag-ge-greyhound, nakuha natin lahat ng cellphone sa loob, tapos 'yung personnel naman...eh sabi nga 95 percent, o kaya pagpasok nila, di ba?" he said, referring to his belief that 95 percent of Bilibid personnel are corrupt.
"Kung hindi sawatain 'yon, [kung] walang ganoong memorandum, mate-tempt po 'yung mga tao, ibeibenta na naman siguro," Bantag said in a report by Susan Enriquez on 24 Oras.
Even though President Rodrigo Duterte did not give him a deadline, Bantag is hopeful that there will be changes in the NBP in three months.
"Dahil nga po 'yan ay a matter of national security ito. Sana 'yung three months may makitang pagbabago," Bantag said.
'Kakatayin,' katana, not a killer
Bantag also has a message for anyone who tries to bribe him.
"Kakatayin ko," he said.
Bantag, however, balked at the "berdugo" tag placed on him after controversial stints as warden at the Manila City Jail and the Parañaque City Jail.
During his time in the latter facility, he was relieved from his post and charged with murder following an explosion that left 10 inmates dead.
"Sa akin po ay hindi naman ako berdugo. Killer? Hindi naman po siguro. Ewan ko kung paano masasabing killer [ako]. 'Di ko po maipaliwanag," he said.
Bantag also said that due to possible threats to his life, he carries guns and even a samurai sword.
"Siguro kapag idepensa ang aming sarili, kasi maraming samurai na ginagawa sila. May improvised, marami po," he said.
During his stint at NBP, Bantag would like to hire people from the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology.
"Kung ibibigay po, kasi may tiwala ako sa kukunin ko, pero minsan sa sobra kasing dami ng kailangan, doon kailangan magsagawa ng screening, vetting," Bantag said. — Joahna Lei Casilao/BM, GMA News