BY ASHZEL HACHERO and VICTOR REYES
JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said the killing of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal division chief Frederic Anthony Santos Wednesday is “very likely” connected to irregularities surrounding the issuance of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) to inmates.
Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who was BuCor chief before becoming a senator last year, said detained drug lords may be behind the killing as they have the resources to order the hit.
Santos and 20 other BuCor officials were ordered suspended for six months by the Ombudsman in September last year for involvement in the anomalous grant of liberty to inmates, including those serving time for heinous crimes.
Santos was supposed to return to his post on March 12, BuCor spokesman Gabby Chaclag said.
Santos was aboard his vehicle and about to fetch his daughter from the Southern Side Montessori School in Barangay Poblacion in Muntinlupa when he was shot dead by unidentified men aboard motorcycles.
Muntinlupa police are still trying to establish the identity of the killers and the motive.
Col. Hermogenes Cabe, Muntinlupa police chief, said available CCTV footages were blurred while other surveillance videos were defective.
Guevarra directed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the killing.
“Still under investigation but very likely that it might have something to do with the GCTA issue,” he said.
Guevarra directed NBI Director Dante Gierran to submit progress reports within 30 days.
Hours after Santos’ killing, Sen. Richard Gordon called on President Duterte and Guevarra to act immediately on the killing.
Gordon noted Santos is the 15th among BuCor officials and employees killed since 2011, with most cases still unresolved. Santos is the fourth BuCor official killed since 2018.
Gordon led Senate hearings last year on alleged anomalies at the BuCor.
Santos was among BuCor officials who appeared in the hearings and among the BuCor official cited in contempt by the Senate for allegedly lying and being evasive. He was among the BuCor officials suspended for six months by the Ombudsman.
Dela Rosa said based on his experience, detained drugs lords who can’t have their way are behind the killing of BuCor personnel.
Dela Rosa was PNP chief from 2016 until his retirement in April 2018. He then served as BuCor chief but stepped down in October 2018 to run for senator.
He said the detained drug lords have contacts outside prison and can have anyone killed.
He said they can even threaten judges and fiscals if they do not get what they want.
He said when he was in BuCor, he had an officer who was ordered shot by an inmate. – With Raymond Africa