November 26, 2020 - Thursday
Website Name Image
Weather icon
26.85 ℃, Overcast clouds
Davao City, Philippines

Go probes “hospital pass for sale” scheme in NBP

September 13, 2019 - Friday 5:09 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image HEADS WILL ROLL. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go says he is convinced there is either corruption or negligence in the way the country’s correctional facilities are being managed. Noel CELIS / AFP

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go gave assurance that “head will roll” in the alleged “hospital pass for sale” scheme in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) which has been uncovered recently.

“I have said this before, and I will say it again... I am convinced that there is either corruption or negligence in the way our correctional facilities are being managed. Let me assure the public, heads will roll. Mananagot ang dapat managot,” Go said.

This as he sought answers from key witness former Valencia City, Bukidnon Mayor Jose Galario Jr. as well as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials during a Senate public hearing on Thursday, September 12, amid corruption scandals plaguing the country’s correctional facilities.

In his opening statement during the hearing, Go promised Galario, who spent time in the NBP for graft, protection as long as the latter tells the truth about the alleged corruption and abuse of power being committed by authorities in the NBP Hospital.

                    Senator Christopher Lawrence Go checks on the situation of elderly inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in this file photo taken on September 9, 2019.

Go told the committee that during a visit to fire victims in Laguna earlier in the day, a child of an inmate divulged to him that a prominent drug lord, whom he identified as Yu Yuk Lai, availed himself of the “hospital pass for sale” scheme and stayed in the hospital for a month.

Pressed by Go for details, Galario said the physician on duty recommends and approves the confinement of the inmates.

“Sa Building 14, drug lords at malaki ang sentensya, ‘yung pag-recommend at approve, duty physician will admit them for several months. ‘Yung drug lords, even though their sickness can be discharged one week, because of money, they can be confined for as long as seven months, eight months,” Galario said.

(In Building 14 where drug lords with long sentences are detained, the physician on duty will recommend admission for several months. Even though their illness can be treated in one week, the drug lords can be confined for as long as seven or eight months because of money.)

Further into his questioning, Go asked Galario how many inmates faking sickness are confined in rooms in the hospital who avail themselves “pass for sale” scheme.

“Sa aming ward, siguro mga 20-30 siguro. Our ward has an average of 100 persons, supposedly it's only 30 or 40. Nagtaka ako wala namang sakit ang mga taong ito kung may sakit siguro, pwedeng ma-discharge ng 1 week or 2 weeks or 3 weeks,” Galario said.

(In our wards, maybe 20 to 30. Our ward has an average of 100 persons even though it should only be for 30 to 40. I was puzzled because these people were not sick. Even if they were, they should have been discharged in one or two or three weeks.)

Galario also claimed that he had paid two prison doctors P1,000 for a medical abstract.

The former mayor added that he believes then-NBP Hospital Chief Dr. Ernesto Tamayo was also aware of the dealings.

Galario also revealed that the Hong Kong Triad has already established connections within the prison and that drug deals are done between them and local distributors. 

“Based on some information of my inmates, the drugs come from the Hong Kong Triad. They have already established connections,” he said.

Go said the NBP hospital was established for humanitarian reasons and that its facilities must be used by those who rightfully needs them.

“It should not be taken advantage of and be an avenue for illegal activities,” he said.