Ampatuans brought to Bilibid after conviction in massacre case
Robie de Guzman • December 19, 2019 • 850
MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Ampatuan clan who were convicted of murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua without parole on Thursday over the 2009 massacre have been transferred to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Brothers Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan and others found guilty of 57 counts of murder were immediately boarded in a convoy of vehicles that made its way to NBP’s Maximum Security Compound.
A helicopter from the Philippine National Police hovered above the convoy until it arrived at the NBP at around 2:15 p.m.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag said they have already prepared for the commitment of the Ampatuans into the Maximum Security Compound where they will be detained along with other ordinary prisoners.
“Okay naman, mga ilang araw din kaming nag-prepare. May coordination tayo sa DILG, AFP pati sa local authorities. At yung usual procedure din naman ng mga persons deprived of liberty na bagong commit, yun din ang gagawin,” he said.
He also assured that there will be no special treatment for the Ampatuans inside the national penitentiary.
Normal operations in the NBP, including visitation privileges, will resume on Friday after it was suspended as part of the security measures implemented in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City and nearby facilities for the promulgation of the Ampatuan massacre case. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Sherwin Culubong)
MANILA, Philippines – Tensions remain high between prison gang members at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) following Friday’s riot that left at least several inmates dead, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the situation at the NBP is still tense but the violence has been contained with the help of the police and prison authorities.
“There were intelligence reports that one group was amassing to strike back at the rival group,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
At least nine inmates who are members of the rival Sputnik ang Commando Gangs were killed in a brawl that broke out before dawn Friday in one quadrant of NBP’s maximum security compound.
Guevarra said he has yet to get an update from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on the situation.
BuCor director general Gerald Bantag earlier said an investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.
The National Bureau of Investigation was also directed to conduct a separate investigation and file charges against anyone involved in the riot. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said she has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the deaths of nine inmates in the New Bilibid Prison after allegedly testing positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In filing Senate Resolution No. 473, Hontiveros said the deaths of these high-profile inmates must be looked into following questions surrounding their demise.
“It is baffling how COVID-19 was able to wipe out several drug lords with one blow,” she said in a statement.
“For the sake of transparency, they need to be clarified,” she added.
Hontiveros pointed out that previous Senate investigation on the alleged corruption inside BuCor have revealed “schemes in which high-ranking officials of the bureau would dispense favors to rich inmates in exchange for monetary consideration.”
She said these schemes and the immediate disposal of the remains cast a cloud of doubt over the reported deaths of the inmates.
“The lack of reliable information on the deaths of the inmates, the track record of some officials within the BuCor, and the improbability of the fatality rate, creates enough doubt in the mind of a reasonable person on the truthfulness of these deaths,” Hontiveros said,
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) earlier confirmed that a number of inmates, nine of whom were high-profile, in the New Bilibid Prisons have succumbed to COVID-19.
BuCor chief Gerald Bantag, however, said he cannot disclose the names of these individuals pursuant to the Data Privacy Act.
The Department of Justice has already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to delve into the issue.
Meanwhile, Hontiveros’ resolution also sought to investigate the health and sanitary conditions in penal institutions “so that the abnormally high number of COVID-19 fatalities might be addressed.”
“By conducting this investigation, we may be able to put an end to speculation and improve our response to the pandemic within our penal institutions,” she added.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said that quarantine centers have been installed in some detention facilities in the country to prevent the spread and manage the cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among persons deprived of liberty (PDL).
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are closely working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in building isolation facilities for probable and suspect coronavirus cases inside detention facilities such as the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
“ICRC has installed a 110-bed capacity quarantine facility in the medium-security New Bilibid Prison. Multi-disciplinary technical support has likewise been supplied to the Correctional Institute for Women as an emergency response to its confirmed cases detected recently,” Duque said in a statement.
The Health chief added that the ICRC is also assisting the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in setting up temporary isolation centers for COVID-19 positive PDLs who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.
“A 48-bed quarantine facility in the Quezon City Jail in Payatas is now fully operational with 40 admitted detainees,” the DOH said.
“It is being expanded to 200 beds and will open shortly in collaboration with BJMP,” it added.
The health department also reported that a 40-bed quarantine facility at the New San Fernando District Jail and an 80-bed quarantine facility at the Quezon District Jail in Pagbilao, Lucena City are likewise being prepared.
“Such isolation centers were set-up with separate areas for patients and sleeping quarters for staff, electricity, water, cots, and basic furnishings,” it said.
“The staff were also furnished with medical equipment, personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and tablet devices to facilitate contact between patients and their relatives,” it added.
Training on infection prevention and control, and management of the dead based on DOH and WHO guidelines were also provided.
Aside from the ICRC, the Health chief said they are also coordinating with the Department of Justice, and the World Health Organization for the conduct of an initial assessment, investigation and management of cases at the Correctional Institution for Women-Bureau of Corrections and the NBP.
This is to ensure that “infection control measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in penal and correctional facilities.”
Duque said that other closed-setting facilities such as orphanages, and homes for the aged will also be monitored with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“Multi-sectoral efforts are ramped up to support all vulnerable areas to stem this pandemic. In all closed-setting facilities, a single case of an asymptomatic positive COVID-19 case can be a disaster,” he said.
The measure comes after more than 200 detainees and personnel at three city jails in the country were reported to have contracted the viral respiratory disease.
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.