MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Department of Justice has created a three-member committee to investigate the unauthorized hospitalization and other perks of so-called “high profile” inmates of the New Bilibid Prison, such as convicted drug lord Ricardo “Cha cha” Camata.
Undersecretary Francisco Baraan has been named to head the committee created by Department Order No. 435 issued by Secretary Leila de Lima, who instructed that the probe should go beyond the case of Camata, who was allowed to check into the Metropolitan Medical Center last month, ostensibly because of a lung ailment, despite the lack of permission from the DOJ.
“Said fact-finding committee shall be mandated to investigate the incident involving inmate Ricardo Camata, as well as validate and probe other similar recent incidents involving other high-profile inmates,” de Lima said in her order.
The members of the committee are National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director for Intelligence Service Jose Doloiras and State Counsel Charles Cambaleza.
During his “confinement,” Camata, who heads the Sigue-Sigue Sputnik gang, CCTV footage showed visitors, including starlet Krista Miller, entering the convict’s room.
The scandal led to the relief of NBP warden, Superintendent Fajardo Lansangan and the 12 guards who escorted Camata to the hospital, acting NBP hospital chief Gloria Achazo-Garcia and Dr. Cecilia Villanueva, and Superintendent Gabriel Magan, head of the jail’s escort unit.
Baraan’s committee has also been tasked to determine the administrative or criminal liabilities incurred by the jail officials in the Camata case, and to recommend measures to prevent a recurrence.
De Lima has given the panel until July 18 to submit its report.
Before the Camata scandal, two other high-profile inmates, Amin Buratong and Herbert Colangco, alias “Ampang,” were reported to have been allowed to check into private hospitals.
Colangco, who led a bank robbery gang, was brought to the Asian Hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa City on May 27.
Buratong, who operated a “shabu tiangge,” or drug bazaar, in Pasig City, was rushed to the Medical City on May 13 reportedly due to coronary artery disease and a liver ailment. (MNS)