Solons seek House probe on dead inmate found in Bilibid septic tank
Solons seek House probe on dead inmate found in Bilibid septic tank
Solons seek House probe on dead inmate found in Bilibid septic tank
by Mary Antalan27 July 2023
Photo Courtesy: Erwin Tulfo Facebook

Three ACT-CIS partylist lawmakers on Wednesday, July 27, called on the House of Representatives to launch an investigation regarding the recent discovery of a dead body found inside a septic tank at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

In filing House Resolution 1136,, Edvic Yap, Erwin and Jocelyn Tulfo underlined the need to review the nation's laws on public order and safety, particularly the condition of the country's penal institutions.

“As part of the duties and functions of the House of Representatives, it is prudent to revisit and scrutinize existing laws, regulations, and circumstances that affect the country's public order and safety primarily the country's correctional facilities,” the solons stated in their resolution.

According to ACT-CIS partylistlawmakers, the measure is to urge the appropriate House committees "to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the relevant government agencies tasked with the custody and rehabilitation of national offenders or Persons Deprived of Liberty."


Rep. Tulfo cited that the body found inside the septic tank of the NPB’s maximum security compound has been identified as Michael Angelo Cataroja, the 25-year-old inmate who authorities say has been missing since July 15.

“Back in July 15, NBP said this inmate was missing. But according to my source, he has been missing since the first week of June. They only reported to the DOJ (Department of Justice) that this inmate was missing on June 15,” he stated.

“The question now is, how did he die? The reason is clear. For sure, he did not take a bath in that septic tank. According to my source, there are a lot of remains in the septic tank,” he added.

Citing information from his source, Tulfo said the motive for the inmate's death was related to drugs.


“Nagkaonsehan sa droga. That was what he (source) was saying. But according to the NBP, they are still investigating,” he said.

The ACT-CIS representative claimed that his source also informed him that when Cataroja vanished, a battle broke out between the rival gangs Sputnik and Batang Cebu and that prisoners had powerful weapons.

“Inmates thought it was between SWAT or NBP guards and inmates, they were the sounds of automatic rifles. We need inquiry on this because this is the Maximum-Security Compound, there has been a change of leadership, and yet drug trade remains in place,” he said.

“This has been going on and on. They are back to their usual ways. They stop for a week when the media is focused on the issue. When another news comes up and the media turns the other way, the corrupt system is again in place. We filed a resolution to end this cycle in the New Bilibid Prison,” Tulfo added.


During COVID-19 pandemic's peak in 2020, authorities recorded violent scuffles and riots among rival gangs inside the NBP, one of which resulted in the death of at least nine inmates.

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