BUCOR CENTRAL OFFICE IN 2012: Looking Back in Perspective
January: The prison leadership (under AFP Ret. Maj. Gen Gaudencio S. Pangilinan) struggled in six months to make over the entire NBP complex with massive renovation agenda incorporating modern security systems until it reflected an exquisite edifice which has become an impressive achievement. It was a high point for the agency. Prestige was restored. It was a time when the Chief Executive took time to grace the occasion when Bucor inaugurated its 10 year Development Plan dubbed as Roadmap 2022. It was also a period when the maiden issue of The Key, a multi colored and well edited magazine of Bucor was published and circulated.
February: The Bucor was perched above the list of accomplished agencies and literally became the toast of the town but it also turned into a magnet and attraction for intrigue. After media had featured Bucor and its leadership on the positive side, the succeeding incidents proceeded on the downside. Questions on the propriety of arrangements and preparations made on the arrival of the President became a basis for raising issues about irregularities. Media took out a file video made previous months highlighting the complaints of a prison officer (PGII Kabunsuan Makilala).
March: The prison leadership found itself embattled on several fronts. Media was feasting on the alleged irregular side of prison administration accomplishments. Partisan blocks got into the fray finding reason to criticize the national leadership on the quality of its appointees. Disgruntled groups converged to up the ante in supporting those against the policy of prison leadership. Media virtually became the battleground in the heated exchanges of charges among the protagonists—the prison leadership on one hand and the alleged whistle-blower in another.
April: The prison leadership tried to remain focused on the transfer plan despite media insinuations. In a special order, the prison leadership directed the formulation of a Mindanao Regional Prison where Davao Prison and Penal Farm would act as the administrative center. San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm was placed under its supervision along with proposed military camps in Mindanao where the proposed mass transfer of minimum security prisoners will be conducted through a similar arrangement made with PMA. A new dress/ uniform code was prescribed. Security personnel were fitted with battle dress uniform and prisoners were compelled to wear single dress clothing when escorted for court appearance and medical referral.
May: The Prison Director took time to participate in an executive course at the Asian Institute of Management and reflected on advancing prison reforms further. He also directed the establishment of a committee to take charge in the transfer of prisoners to other military camps preparatory to the move to transfer New Bilibid Prison to another proposed site. The plan for transfer, which began in 2006, was taken up in earnest with its inclusion in the NEDA agenda for a possible Public-Private Partnership (PPP) venture.
June: The plan likewise called for beefing up the organization. Several batches of new recruits were admitted into the prison service. They were given initial orientation in the Bucor Training school and subsequently were sent on boot camp for a military advance course. Not only were the new recruits honed on prison administration routine but were also immersed in martial schooling and given a corresponding AFP reservist rank.
July: Another scandal broke out. An incident on the escape and alleged abduction of a high risk prisoner, Rolito Go, further denuded the integrity of the prison leadership. It became a staple of news for days until it recalled issues which were previously slapped on prison administration. Media became alive in highlighting prison incidents back to the headlines. The transfer plan was relegated back into the shelves.
August: The prison leadership attained its first year at the helm of the agency at the heels of mounting prison scandals. A series of investigation capped by the submission of the DOJ Fact Finding Report to the President persuaded the Prison Director to file an indefinite leave. Media came alive even resuscitating issues pertaining prison deficiencies and indiscretions in the past.
September: Political pressures were insurmountable that it led to changes and realignment of concerns. The DOJ Secretary took over the reins of Bucor to assuage public indignation against prison administration and designated PPA Administrator Manuel Co as Officer in Charge. There was momentary silence from public discussion on prison matters.
October: The designated OIC (Manuel Co) tried to restore stability and pursued an objective way to maintain harmony among conflicting factions in Bucor. The Bucor union (held by two struggling factions) was made to observe cooperation and the prison leadership subsequently through an instant command meeting moved to wean Bucor from private catering to self administration and a review of their respective capabilities in absorbing additional prisoners into their camps. Restoring previous regular programs became also a standard. Transfer of prisoners to other prisons and penal farms continued.
November: A grenade throwing incident brought back Prison administration into the headlines once again. It became a basis also for the DOJ Secretary to reassign back to PPA Administrator Co and designated NBI deputy director Rafael Ragos as Officer in Charge.
December: Another prison scandal nearly sent the prison leadership aground. But media was preoccupied with the knockout loss of Manny Pacquiao which grabbed prime time news for days and weeks on end. Thereafter, some sectors tried to revive the prison breach but boxer Donnaire , a week later, took over the headlines and buried the prison scandal in the back pages. DOJ nonetheless relieved two prison officers because of the negligence pursued a minor revamp in the NBP hierarchy.