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Duterte orders revamp of Bureau of Corrections

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President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a total revamp of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to curb corruption within the agency, according to the Philippine News Agency.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo bared this after Duterte appointed former warden of the Parañaque and Manila City jails Gerald Bantag as new BuCor director-general on Tuesday.

“Total revamp, he would remove all of them there,” Panelo said in a media interview referring to all personnel from BuCor officials to prison guards.

Panelo said the President is going to sign a directive.

Asked if Bantag would also be given a free hand to select personnel, Panelo replied: “Siguro (Perhaps). Most likely he will be given a free hand since he was designated as new director-general.”

The Palace official also bared that Bantag’s papers have already been signed but Malacañang has yet to release copies of the document to reporters.

Meanwhile, Panelo dismissed the comment of detained Senator Leila de Lima, who claimed that there would be more senseless killings and zero progress toward reforms at the BuCor with Bantag as its head.

“In her own imagination siguro (maybe). You know if you’re in jail, your imagination runs wild,” Panelo said.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he is confident that Bantag will clean up the agency, being a former regional director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

"He knows his business. ‘Yung lahat na nangyari, huwag mong gawin, ‘yun lang (Everything that happened, don't do it). All the things that you have observed along the way, all the things that are being obnoxious or repugnant to the public, huwag mong gawin (don't do it)," Duterte said in a media interview.

Bantag was the jail warden when an explosion occurred at the Parañaque City Jail in 2016. He was among those hurt but still faced charges for the blast that left several inmates dead.

Despite facing criminal charges, Duterte defended Bantag, saying he picked him as BuCor chief for his professional competence.

"He’s a professional. He was accused of killing several, prisoners, grenade they say. But I think there was a commotion there and he was charged with --- for the crime of --- for the crime of murder. But it was downgraded to homicide and since there is no conviction yet, in obedience to the rule of the presumption of innocence, I gave him a new job," he said.

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