CEBU, Philippines – Following reports of alleged maltreatment, officials of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-7 visited the male dormitory of the Cebu City Jail yesterday to investigate the matter.
CHR Chief Investigator Leo Villarino said it’s too early to say that there’s basis of the claims of Marvin Gimpeso, the inmate who bolted out of the city jail and who alleged that he was maltreated and abused by some jail officers inside the facility.
“We have talked to the inmate. We checked his injuries and bruises. Based sa interview, ang bun-og ug samad na sustain tungod sa pag-escape niya sa miaging adlaw,” he told reporters.
Villarino said Gimpeso’s injuries at the back, arms, and legs were not sustained from the maltreatment.
Gimpeso declined to be interviewed by the media yesterday.
“Gi-torture mi nila. Gipaluhod gikan sa opisina padung sa bartolina ug gidokdok among kamot kay gipasanginlan mi nga mangikyas bisan og natu’g rami sa chapel sa mga miaging adlaw kay naay liga ato,” Gimpeso earlier said.
He also alleged that the foods served to them are “not cooked and very humiliating.”
Villarino said Gimpeso has been consistent in his allegations and said the commission will call out the attention of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) if the allegations are true.
“Kon duna man (maltreatment), we’ll call the attention of BJMP. We will remind of their functions. If there is sufficient basis, we will file a case,” he told reporters.
In a meeting with Villarino and City Councilor David Tumulak, City Warden Arnel Peralta denied the allegations that there was maltreatment and abuse happening inside the facility.
“Regarding ana iyang allegation, dili ta makaingon nga tinuod or sayop. Pero akong pasiguro, walay maltreatment sa facility. There were no human rights violated,” Peralta said.
He added that the BJMP will conduct its own separate investigation.
Peralta said the BJMP will also investigate the claims of Gimpeso.
As for the issue on food, BJMP has allotted a daily P60 meal for every inmate.
Tumulak said he will recommend to Mayor Tomas Osmeña the giving of food subsidy to the inmates.
“We will wait for the formal request of BJMP,” Tumulak said.
But Osmeña said he is not inclined in approving the food subsidy to inmates.
“It’s not my responsibility. I don’t even inspect the food being served in CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center). Nganong hatagan mohatag man og dakong importansya sa prisoners? I don’t like these people anyway. They are law breakers anyway,” he told reporters.
The mayor said the city also cut some of its assistance to the city jail because the BJMP reportedly refused to be audited.
Peralta also said he ordered to throw tear gas to the inmates after they staged a noise barrage when Gimpeso was taken inside the city jail Wednesday night.
Peralta believed that inmates wanted to “maul” Gimpeso for escaping since the escape resulted the ban of visiting hours for all inmates.
“Sa ilang kasaba, atong giitsahan og tear gas para ma-neutralize. Walay nakuyapan, ila ranang storya,” Peralta added.
As of now, he said Gimpeso is being isolated from the cells of inmates to avoid chaos inside the facility.
Peralta said BJMP is also investigating Jail Officer 1 John Earl Pangatongam who was allegedly asleep that is why the inmate managed to escape from the city jail.
Peralta also assured that the bureau will continue to improve its security. (FREEMAN)