BuCor Chief: I gave 'shoot-to-maim' order for smuggling drugs, phones in Bilibid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — Inmates at New Bilibid Prison caught smuggling items like cell phones and drugs can be shot, and even killed, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director-General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said on Monday.

Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines' The Source that he instructed the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) securing the prison to shoot those who toss packages over the compound walls.

"Ngayon, close to zero na yung activity dahil binigyan ko ng instruction ang SAF doon na guwardiya sa mga tower — na pag nakita niyo nagtapon diyan sa loob, barilin ninyo. Putukan ninyo... Shoot to maim. Kung maulo, kill na rin, kung tamaan sa ulo," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: Now, such activities are close to zero because I gave the instruction to SAF tower guards that if you see someone throwing (items), shoot them... shoot to maim. Or kill, if you hit them on the head.]

The former Police Chief also addressed drug lords whom he said continued the trade from inside the prison.

"Ihinto niyo iyan. Pag malaman ko iyan, managot kayo sa akin," said Dela Rosa. "Sabi ko sa kanila, hindi ko kayo puwede sakalin, pero may mangyayari talaga sa inyo."

[Translation: Stop that. If I find out about it, you will pay... I told them, I can't strangle you, but something will definitely happen to you.]

When asked what would happen to the inmates, he answered, "Secret. Ako na bahala doon [That's up to me]."

When prodded on whether there would be any human rights violations, Dela Rosa responded, "Kung mahuli nila [If they catch it]. What happens inside stays inside."

He further reasoned that these inmates were not afraid of being caught or jailed, because they were already in prison.

Dela Rosa clarified that the SAF has not actually shot anyone yet. "Pero alam nila... na may standing order ako [But they know I have a standing order]," he added.

The retired police chief took up the post in BuCor last May, and is now eyeing a senatorial bid in the 2019 elections.

During his time in the police force, Dela Rosa led President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs. Government numbers show about 4,000 died in police operations in this period, but human rights watchdogs estimate up to 13,000 deaths — including those from vigilante-style killings.

Human Rights Watch in April said that Dela Rosa left behind a police force with a "sordid human rights record unmatched since the Marcos dictatorship," saying that he had to answer to the deaths under his term. Among these high profile killings are the deaths of Korean national Jee Ick Joo, 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, and jailed Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.