THREE inmates were killed and 64 others were injured yesterday morning in a bloody riot between rival gangs at the New Bilibid Prison, a month after a similar deadly battle left nine inmates dead and seven others injured.
The Bureau of Corrections described the riot inside the maximum security compound as a “free for all scuffle” and did not say if there were casualties and what groups were involved.
But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra let the cat out of the bag, saying: “I have been informed that violence among inmates broke out again at the maximum security compound this morning. Three persons were killed and 64 wounded.”
Last month’s deadly riot involved members of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Sigue Sigue Commando gangs and yesterday’s melee could be some form of retaliation.
Guevarra said the BuCor security force, assisted by a contingent from the PNP SAF and the NCRPO SWAT, was conducting clearing operations yesterday.
“I have ordered the BuCor to submit a detailed report as soon as possible. I will direct the NBI to conduct a parallel investigation or expand its ongoing probe into the previous violence,” he said, referring to an investigation being conducted on the NBI on last month’s riot.
DOJ Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar said the number of casualties may rise.
“That is the current count that reached us but we were told this might not be final (count) yet. We will give further updates as they come along,” she added.
Reliable sources said the riot involved the same groups that figured in the October 9 fracas.
One of the sources claimed to have personally seen two inmates slumped on the ground with multiple stab wounds.
“Ang isa po nakatali pa ang kamay sa likod,” the source said.
The BuCor said it evacuated its staff at its national headquarters inside the prison complex for their safety.
“Immediate response from BuCor, PNP-SWAT, PNP SAF and BFP personnel were deployed.
BuCor personnel who were at the offices during the incident were ordered to evacuate the national headquarters immediately to ensure that no injuries will be inflicted on them,” the BuCor said.
It added that BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag is on “top of the situation and closely monitoring and giving directions to the operating team.”
The BuCor also placed other prison colonies on red alert to prevent a spillover of the incident.
Aside from the NBP, the BuCor also operates penal colonies in San Ramon, Zamboanga City Iwahig in Palawan, Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro, Abuyog in Leyte and the Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte.
The BuCor also operates the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.
Immediately after last month’s riot, Guevarra ordered the NBI to conduct an investigation and submit a report to his office. – With Noel Talacay