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Probe into deadly riots at prisons in P’pines
Published on: Thursday, January 13, 2022
By: AFP
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A riot at the New Bilibid Prison left three prisoners dead and 14 others hurt.
MANILA: The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday said it would conduct its own investigation on the Caloocan jail and New Bilibid Prison riots that have left detainees and inmates dead and numerous others hurt, citing the “concerning” trend on prison scuffles involving improvised weapons.

In separate statements, CHR Commissioner Jacqueline De Guia said the agency is “gravely” worried about the “common occurrence” of jail riots that use contraband weapons.

“We reiterate our call for detention officials to increase efforts on clearing operations to ensure that no PDL (person deprived of liberty) has access to deadly weapons,” De Guia said. 

“We recall that just this month, CHR investigated another incident that occurred in Bilibid leading to the deaths of three [person deprived of liberty]. In both incidents, improvised weapons were used to injure and possibly kill,” she added. 

Authorities said six prisoners were killed during the Caloocan City jail riot on Monday involving two altercating groups while at least 30 others were injured. 

Earlier this month, a riot also erupted at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City that left three prisoners dead and 14 others hurt.

For the CHR, jails and detention facilities “have the obligation to protect persons deprived of liberty from harm and ensure humane living conditions free from cruel and degrading treatment.”

“It is concerning how PDLs involved in this incident have been able to hide numerous deadly improvised weapons without detection until the occurrence of such incidence,” the CHR statement read. 

The commission said it would dispatch investigators to the New Bilibid Prison and coordinate with authorities.

It is urging officials to probe whether there were “lapses” when they were conducting contraband clearing operations and find out what happened.  

In June 2021, a fight broke out at the Medium Security Compound leaving one inmate dead and three others injured. Two deadly gang brawls, which happened a month apart, also erupted in 2020.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for his part said he directed Undersecretary Deo Marco to submit his report on the incident, including recommended courses of action.

Last June, Guevarra said the justice department would continue the investigation into the liability of BuCor in deadly riots in the Bilibid.

“What I want to know is how such a violent incident could happen in the wee hours of the morning and last for hours, and why the prison authorities failed to detect and prevent such a huge gang war that left many inmates dead or injured,” the DOJ chief said then. 

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