Members of the House Committee on Justice and other local officials attended a congressional inquiry on Wednesday to settle the issue of the construction of a wall by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) along Insular Road in New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) Reservation.
Muntinlupa officials, led by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, presented to the committee the lack of coordination from BuCor regarding the construction of the wall along Insular Road which gives residents of NHA, Southville 3 access to and from the city proper. He also noted that the construction of the wall was unlawful and there has been an excessive use of authority from BuCor.
BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag insisted that they have coordinated with the LGU but Mayor Fresnedi vehemently refuted his claim.
“Yung sinasabi ni Director Bantag na coordination, they notified the local government of the closure of Insular Road, wala pong katotohanan ‘yun. I vehemently deny, as far as the blocking of the road is concerned, that there wasn’t any communication on this matter,” Fresnedi said.
Brgy. Poblacion capt. Allen Ampaya added that while they have received a letter from BuCor on March 18, there was no mention on the construction of a permanent wall and only informed the barangay that paths leading to the affected communities wouldn’t be accessible temporarily to all pedestrians and motorists from March 20-21. BuCor carried out the construction on March 20.
Jap Landingan, president of Southville 3 group, said that many from their community have lost their jobs since the road closure and appealed to the committee to call on BuCor for the opening of the access road.
Committee on Justice chairman, and former Court of Appeals justice, Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso III inquired about the ownership of the road as basis for the resolution of the issue.
DPWH NCR Las Piñas Muntinlupa District Engr. Elpidio Trinidad noted that the Insular Road in Bilibid was registered as a National Road. Cong. Veloso commented that BuCor has no ownership on the road and that the construction of the wall was against the law.
“Let it be a warning, kapag hinarangan niyo pa ‘yan, hindi niyo giniba ‘yan, pwede kayong kasuhan sa Ombudsman, aakyat ‘yan sa Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3, Paragraph E of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” Veloso said.
The Committee on Justice is set to review the provisions of the BuCor Modernization Law and scrutinize the bureau’s “absolute authority” over the NBP Reservation.
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said he is glad that the Chair of the Committee on Justice had the same view that what the BuCor did in constructing a wall to block Insular Road was against the law.
“His conclusion is aligned with ours, and the other resource persons confirmed the non-coordination by the BuCor. I call on Director Bantag to do what is right and tear down that wall,” Biazon noted.
Last March, the local government has condemned BuCor’s action to construct a concrete wall along Insular Road. Southville 3 is a socialized housing project of the National Housing Authority located within NBP with 8,000 families or at least 40,000 residents.
*Source: Public Information Office