Guv urged: ‘Review jail operations MOA’

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Guv urged: ‘Review jail operations MOA’

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Jail “double budget” whistleblower, Jail Inspector Angelina Lumba-Bautista of Valenzuela City, called on Gov. Edgar Chatto to review the memorandum of agreement entered into by his predecessor with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for the operation of the Bohol District Jail.

Bautista said she had already contacted Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II about the alleged anomaly on the allocations for the subsistence allowance of inmates involving high-ranking BJMP officials.

She said she had been waiting for a response from the provincial officials since last year yet.

The governors who entered into memoranda of agreement with the BJMP had no idea that the BJMP has regular budget for the subsistence allowance for the inmates, according to Bautista.

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She said some governors had expressed disappointment that BJMP made them appear stupid.

All the regional directors, budget wardens and those at the national headquarters of the BJMP chief, comptroller account and budget department must have kept it secret when the MOAs were drafted and it only shocked the governors to learn of the hidden motive, Bautista added.

Bautista said she had been waiting for the governor of Bohol to react on the controversy and also wanted to know if the provincial administration will be checking the present set up at the Bohol District Jail.

The whistleblower appreciated though that First District Rep. Rene Relampagos co-authored House Resolution No. 2134, calling concerned committees to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to shed light on the issue.

In the resolution, Relampagos asked the House of Representatives to conduct an investigation into the alleged irregularity in the disbursements by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for the subsistence allowances of the inmates in various provincial jails.

Relampagos, through House Resolution 2134, joined the call to the concerned committees to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to shed light on the issue.

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HR 2134 is now at the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.

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Bautista reiterated that it is certain the “double budget scheme” has also been practiced in Bohol after learning from an earlier news item that BDJ Warden Jose Rusylvi Abueva mentioned that the allocation for meal allowance of the detainees has been shouldered by the provincial government.

Bautista said the BJMP has budget for the same purpose, but it is allegedly redirected to the pockets of top jail officials.

In the news item Abueva was quoted to have stated that the provincial government allocates P50 a day for each of the 491 inmates of BDJ then.

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The the same pattern is now being investigated in the jails in Bataan, Quezon, Albay, and Iloilo, in addition to the one she exposed from Valenzuela.

HB 2134 was introduced by Bataan 2<sup>nd</sup>District Rep. Enrique Garcia Jr. in the last week of May this year, “calling for an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the reported anomaly in the disbursements by the BJMP for subsistence allowances of inmates in various provincial jails which were already shouldered and paid for by the local government units concerned”.

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The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability tackled the measure among matters for preliminary determination during the committee hearing on June 9.

Garcia cited “extensive media reports” about Bautista for surfacing “to denounce what she claimes to be the anomalous practice of certain BJMP officials who enter into separate Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with various provincial government units whereby the latter are made to shoulder the subsistence allowances of inmates in their provincial jails while, at the same time, the said BJMP officials are collecting disbursements for the same purpose from the BJMP fund”.

Bautista first exposed the same alleged practice in Bataan Provincial Jail wherein BJMP entered into a MOA with the provincial government of Bataan on August 18, 2010 and since then, it had been the basis for the latter to regularly appropriate and disburse funds for the subsistence of the inmates “without knowing that for the same period of time, the BJMP has been appropriating and releasing funds supposedly for exactly the same purpose but which never reached the inmates”.

The province of Bataan spends and average of P20 million every year for the inmates’ subsistence, according to Garcia.

“It was subsequently discovered that similar MOAs have been entered into by the BJMP with the provinces of Bohol, Iloilo, Albay and Quezon, where the same anomalous scheme may have been perpetrated,” Garcia stated in his resolution based on the documents submitted by Bautista.

The House Resolution noted on the complaints of plunder that Bautista filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against BJMP officials

Garcia then sought for an action from colleagues “to determine the extent of the anomaly and the damage inflicted as there may be other provinces which may have been similarly victimized by corrupt BJMP officials who apparently have taken advantage of the present situation where jurisdiction over the provincial jails has yet to be delineated by law”.

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