TELECOMMUNICATIONS firms may block the signal at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, Malacañang suggested Monday, September 9, after it was revealed during a Senate hearing that the use of mobile phones among high-profile inmates remains rampant inside the state penitentiary.
The proposal was floated by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo shortly after Senator Panfilo Lacson bared during the resumption of the Senate hearing into the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) mess that at least four mobile phones were confiscated in a raid conducted in August.
In a press conference, Panelo said barring signal at the national penitentiary would stop inmates from further committing illegal acts by phone.
"Simple lang iyan. Madali lang din iyang solusyonan. All you need is to cut that off. Who will cut that off? Eh 'di syempre, the operator ng Smart, ng Globe. Tapos. Ganoon lang kasimple 'yun," the Palace official said.
(It's simple. The solution is simple. All you need is to cut that off. Who will cut that off? Of course, the operators of Smart and Globe. That is how simple it is.)
"Ang sinasabi ko, hindi 'yung jamming, kung hindi.. Hindi ba ang nagtatanggal ng signal, kung sino ang server. Kapag tinanggal iyan ng Smart at Globe, eh di wala na," he added.
(What I'm saying is not signal jamming. It is to totally block the signal. If Smart and Globe block it, then the signal is gone.)
During the Senate hearing, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption president Arsenio Evangelista claimed that some erring Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials were allowing prisoners to use cellphones in exchange for cash as much as P2.5 million.
Panelo said he would tell President Rodrigo Duterte to consider his proposal in a bid to stop the unlawful scheme at NBP.
He said a law would have to be passed to compel telecommunications providers to heed the order from the government.
"I will suggest to the President. Kung 'yan lang ang problema. Kung nakaka-aggravate sa problema, eh 'di tanggalin na lang natin (If that's the problem, if that aggravates the problem, let's block the signal)," the Palace official said.
"Then the law should require them to stop the signal, the operation of particular use of communication system within an area," he added. (SunStar Philippines)