By Charissa Luci-Atienza, October 3 2018; Manila Bulletin


Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

Lamenting that the slow legal process has resulted in the worsened overcrowding of jails throughout the country, the Philippine National Police (PNP) asked on Wednesday Congress to pass a bill prescribing the procedural process on committing persons arrested or under PNP custody to the facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

At the House Committee on Human Rights’ motu proprio probe on the deplorable state of PNP custodial facilities, PNP-Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) Director Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo decried the snail-paced inquest proceedings of courts as the culprit behind the congestion of jails in the country.

“Minsan, umaabot ng four to seven months in the case of Novaliches. Minsan umaabot pa ng isang taon para ma-issue ang commitment order. That is the grim reality right now,” he told the panel, chaired by Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso Montalla.

During his presentation, Siervo noted that Region IV had the most overcrowded custodial facilities.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head Director Guillermo Eleazar also told the committee that it “could take three weeks and even beyond” before courts can issue commitment orders.

He noted that since President Rodrigo Duterte’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs started on July 1, 2016, a total of 54, 186 drug suspects have been arrested. “We are arresting 66 persons on the average per day,” he said.

Siervo laments that the PNP lacked funds to attend to the needs of the individuals who have been detained for more than 36 hours.

“Paglumampas na ng 36 hours, kailangan na namin silang pakainin, pag nagkasakit kailangan na namin ipagamot, but we don’t have funds for that. Saan po namin kukunin yun? The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) started to release P50 for food in the daily basis, ayan ang hawak namin,” he said.

Lawyer Dennis Aga of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said prosecutors have been directed to “act fast” on inquest cases.

“We are ordered to resolve immediately inquest cases. If inquest case is given this morning as much as possible by the afternoon or the next morning, it should be resolved,” he said.

Lawyer Arturo Noblejas of the Office of the Court Administrator agreed with the PNP officials that it takes three weeks to one month before the case is filed.

During the hearing, Jail Superintendent Baby Noel Montalvo also disclosed that BJMP’s jail facilities were also congested and agreed that the slow disposition of cases in court worsened the overcrowding of jails.

“MInsan nakulong na after makalaya nagpapakulong ulit dahil mas nakakakain sila sa loob. We also have a data na ‘yung mga buntis na detainees, nagpapakulong para makalibre sila ng panganganak,” he said.