Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday showed a foreign documentary to show congressman the situations inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City during the past administration.
During the first day of the House justice committee's inquiry on the proliferation of drugs in the national penitentiary, Aguirre said he wanted congressmen to watch the documentary "to show what kind of Bilibid we have before SAF [Special Action Force] troopers came there last July 20."
The 40-minute documentary was aired on Discovery Channel in 2013 and is part of the TV series "Inside the Gangster's Code," hosted by Louis Ferrante, a convicted mobster who later became a bestselling true crime, business, and science writer.
Among the inmates interviewed in the episode was Jaybee Sebastian, a gang leader and suspected drug lord operating inside the NBP.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, a number of surprise raids has been conducted at the NBP, leading to the confiscation of firearms, balisongs, knives, mobile phones, signal boosters, illegal drugs, and cash.
Jail guards were also replaced by members of the Philippine National Police's SAF.
Visitation period was also shortened in an effort to clamp down on illegal activities at the national penitentiary.
The documentary showed how luxurious a gang leader's life can be inside the national penitentiary.
During one of the conversations between Sebastian and the show's host, the gang leader showed his picture with former Justice secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima.
De Lima is accused of having an involvement in the drug trade inside the penitentiary.
Aguirre had said that according to witnesses, the former justice secretary received millions of pesos in payola money from drug lords.
In the show, Sebastian also showed his own office where he operates an in-house "television network."
In one program aired on "BTV," Sebastian, himself, could be seen "reporting" and interviewing jail guards at the NBP. Sebastian said the Bilibid network also airs local entertainment shows.
"The making of this video is with the blessing of the Department of Justice [during the past administration]," Aguirre told members of the committee.
Aguirre said events shown in the documentary happened during the Aquino administration, under the Bureau of Corrections leadership of retired Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan. —ALG, GMA News