Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has announced his plan on Wednesday to revive his proposal to create a prison island, “Alcatraz-style,” for criminals involved in the illegal drug trade.
According to the senator, this is to prevent the imprisoned drug lords from conducting their illegal business from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“If you segregate (high-level drug convicts) and establish a national penitentiary for high-level drug crimes, this will be more restrictive as they will be confined in one place and they can be watched closely,” Sen. Sotto said.
He also added that taking the drug lords on a prison island will prevent them from using cellphones to communicate with the outside world which they are allegedly using to conduct their illegal drug trade from behind bars.
“If they are confined in a rocky island in Palawan… Alcatraz-style, they cannot operate anymore. There will be no phones, no cell sites,” Sotto explained.
Alcatraz is a former prison island in San Francisco, California which has now become a popular tourist attraction.
The proposal referred to by Sotto is his Senate Bill No. 3326, which calls for the segregation of prisoners who would be executed if the country is implementing the death penalty.
If the bill is passed, it would prevent the necessity for the reinstatement of the death penalty on big-time drug lords, as being advocated by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Sotto also said that the restoration of the death penalty which the incoming president wants has a difficult road ahead since various sectors are expected to strongly oppose it. The Catholic Church and several human rights groups have promised to fight the reinstatement of capital punishment.
If the death penalty is not reinstated, isolating the drug lords in an island could be an effective method for eliminating the rampant drug trade in the country, the senator said.
“Segregation is allowed by the Constitution,” Sotto added.