A SUSPENDED official of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) was shot dead by unidentified men in Muntinlupa City yesterday.
Frederick Anthony Santos of the BuCor’s Legal Service was declared dead by responding health workers.
He testified at Senate hearings last year on anomalies at the national penitentiary and was among 27 BuCor officials suspended in connection with alleged anomalies involving the release of almost 2,000 heinous crime convicts under the good conduct time allowance policy.
Reports reaching Camp Crame said Santos, aboard a pickup, was about to fetch his daughter from the Southern Side Montessori School in Barangay Poblacion at around 2 p.m. when he was shot at close range by two men aboard a motorcycle.
“(The) victim who sustained gunshot wounds in the head was declared dead by the Muntinlupa rescue team,” the police report said.
Muntinlupa police said Santos was shot dead some 100 meters from the main gate of the New Bilibid Prison.
Probers are establishing the identities of the gunmen and their motive.
Santos and 29 other officials of the bureau were ordered suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman in September last year after they “allowed the questionable release from prison convicts,” in violation of the good conduct time allowance policy.
They were suspended without pay for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Angelina Bautista, a caterer for the Correctional Institute of Women, has also accused Santos during a Senate hearing of asking P50,000 from her in exchange for notarial services. She said she agreed to avail of Santos’ services because of his perceived influence.
Santos admitted receiving the amount but denied any impropriety. He claimed he advised the bidders they could avail of notarization services outside.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Santos was ready to reveal what he knew about the irregularities on the good conduct time allowance, but he “he reneged, pinaasa lang kami (he kept us hoping).”
In the Senate hearing last September, Sen. Panfilo Lacson confronted Santos after he received reports that the jail official was “jamming” with Chinese drugs lords inside the NBP Building 14.
Lacson started by asking if Santos has ever used illegal drugs, to which Santos replied “No sir.” Lacson then said he would get the evidence to show that Santos participated in drug sessions with Chinese drug lords in the NBP. Santos kept on denying the allegation.
Sen. Richard Gordon, Senate Blue Ribbon committee chair who led the hearing on the GCTA, said the killing is very alarming because, according to him, 15 BuCor officials have been killed within the perimeter of the NBP from 2011 to the present.
“It is a warning to all na kapag ikaw ay may nalalaman at nagsasalita kaya, ka naming patayin. This is very serious (This serves as a warning that if you will reveal what you know, we can kill you. All those [cases] killed in Muntinlupa were unsolved. This is very serious),” Gordon said.
Malacañang condemned the killing.
“We condemn any act of violence… As a matter of policy, we condemn any transgressions of law, any violation inflicted on any person, any murder, we condemn that,” said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and concurrent presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
He said regardless of the motive, the incident should not impact on the anti-corruption campaign of government. – With Noel Talacay, Raymond Africa and Jocelyn Montemayor