Rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) lambasted orders made by PNP Director General Alan Purisima to clear up detention cells at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City to make way for so-called “VIP detainees” implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
According to SELDA, Gen. Purisima’s order of providing decent jail for legislators accused of plunder reeks of double standard treatment for inmates in Philippine jails.
“They have yet to charge and arrest these legislators implicated in the pork scam but they are already thinking of comfortable prison cells for these alleged plunderers. At any rate, there should be no special treatment, especially to those who are accused of plunder,” SELDA national coordinator Roneo Clamor said.
The group, on the other hand, criticized the subhumane condition of prison facilities in the country, which is way below minimum international standards.
“The PNP rushes to provide decent detention to VIP offenders because they know very well that prison facilities in the country are beyond habitable for human beings. Prisoners are in cramped and poorly-ventilated cells. They receive insufficient food rations, and they lack of medical services,” explained Clamor.
Among those who suffer such conditions are political prisoners who languish in jails for crimes they do not commit, according to Clamor.
“Political prisoners are consistenly maligned by the state. They are accused of trumped-up charges to justify their imprisonment. They are made to suffer under such conditions in a bid to silence their dissent,” Clamor said.
Also detained in the PNP Custodial Center are NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) peace consultants Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, Reynante Gamara, Eduardo Serrano, and other political prisoners Ramon Argente, Dionisio Almonte and wife Gloria Almonte.
“Is Purisima’s folly idea to purge the current 70 inmates in Crame really designed to declog the custodial center of prisoners or a continuing scheme to silence political prisoners and hide the great divide in the treatment of inmates?” Clamor added.
SELDA also assailed the deplorable condition of political prisoner Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, former spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines, prior to the death of her child.
The group joined other sectors in holding government state forces and agencies accountable on the death of baby Diona Andrea.
Rosal was arrested on March 27 on trumped-up charges of murder, among others. At the time of her arrest, she was seven-months pregnant. Rights groups reported that she was denied of proper medical attention while in detention at the Taguig City Jail Female Dormitory.
The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states, “In women’s institutions, there shall be special accommodation for all necessary pre-natal and post-natal care and treatment.”
SELDA is calling for the release of more than 400 political prisoners, including peace consultants, the sick, elderly and those who have served a long time in prison. ###
Reference: Roneo Clamor, SELDA national coordinator, 0917-5965859