BuCor chief goes on leave after inmate’s disappearance

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

MANILA (2nd Update) -- Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gaudencio Pangilinan has gone on leave pending the result of the investigation on the disappearance of convicted killer Rolito Go.

“In order to emphasize the principle of command responsibility and to enhance the investigation, Bureau of Corrections Director Gaudencio Pangilinan has offered to go on leave and the President has accepted,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a press briefing in Malacañang Thursday.

Go, a businessman, was convicted in 1993 by the Pasig Regional Trial Court for the killing of 25-year-old Eldon Maguan, a De La Salle University engineering graduate, following a minor traffic altercation in San Juan City in 1991.

He was reported missing on Tuesday evening after he failed to report for the regular headcount of prisoners at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, but he was found Wednesday night with his nephew Clemence Yu, and are now under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Yu acts as Go’s personal nurse, as the latter is suffering from colon cancer. The two claimed that they were left by kidnappers in Tanauan, Batangas and they boarded a bus to Alabang, Muntinlupa City, where they were fetched by their family and the police.

With Pangilinan’s leave of absence, the NBP will now be under the direct supervision of the Secretary of Justice pending the appointment of an officer-in-charge.

Asked if Pangilinan should resign due to the incident, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said they will leave the decision to Pangilinan, noting that the BuCor chief has also implemented reforms in the agency.

Lacierda, meanwhile, said the President has ordered an in-depth, multi-agency investigation on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Go from the NBP. The joint investigation will be conducted by the PNP, National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Lacierda also said that President Benigno Aquino III has expressed dismay over the lack of progress in arresting high-profile fugitives. In result, the President has raised the reward money for those who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of these fugitives.

Lacierda said the President has doubled the reward from P1 million to P2 million for information leading to the apprehension of Jovito Palparan.

Palparan, a former military general, has been blamed for the disappearances of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006. He is part of the so-called “Big Four” fugitives hunted down by the PNP.

The President also raised the reward from P1.55 million to P2 million for information leading to the apprehension of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes; and set a reward of P2 million for information leading to the apprehension of Coron Mayor Mario Reyes. The Reyes brothers are part of the “Big Four.”

Furthermore, the President has set a P2-million reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the apprehension of each of the following who have outstanding warrants of arrest: Delfin Lee and Ruben Ecleo Jr. Lee is facing syndicated estafa case, while Ecleo was indicted for the death of his wife, Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, in 2002.

The President likewise reminded the public of the existing reward of P5.6 million each for information leading to the apprehension of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army leaders Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos, both of whom also have outstanding warrants of arrest. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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