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VACC wants proof of Bilibid inmates’ deaths

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Monday asked for proof of deaths of the nine high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison allegedly due to COVID-19.

According to Maki Pulido’s report on “24 Oras” on Monday, VACC founding chairperson Dante Jimenez said they want assurance that there was no foul play on the deaths of the prisoners.

“Eh malay mo that could be part of corruption. Puwede sabihin i-ano mo na lang ako tapos lalaya ka na lang. Ten million pesos sayo o 20 million ang certification na ‘yan,” Jimenez said.

He added the process of the cremation was not transparent as there were no witnesses.

Jimenez said only the ashes of the inmates were brought to their families.

“At least man lang a representative of the victim or survivors ay nakita o na-witness,” Jimenez said.

Earlier, the Bureau of Corrections confirmed that kidnap-for-ransom convict Jaybee Sebastian has died due to COVID-19.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete made the remark after BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag met with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

It was reported over the weekend that Sebastian and several other high-profile inmates had died and that their remains had been cremated according to COVID-19 protocol.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said Guevarra has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the circumstances as regards the deaths of the inmates.

Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto III also filed a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry on the matter.

Meanwhile, former Philippine National Police chief Senator Panfilo Lacson has yet to be convinced that there was foul play in the deaths of the convicts.

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, also a former chief of the PNP and the BuCor, said there is no basis yet to call for a probe. —Ma. Angelica Garcia/LDF, GMA News