By Charissa M. Luci
Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is calling for a congressional investigation into reports of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) during a police sweep last February 28.
Garcia filed House Resolution 874, citing the need to strengthen the government’s capability to institutionalize highly competent and efficient correctional services.
“The current leadership of the province of Cebu, either by sheer incompetence or shameless complicity, should take full responsibility for the events that transpired on Feb. 28, 2017 that has further brought the CPDRC to its sad and sorry state today,” she said in filing HR 874.
The House should also look into apparent drug trafficking inside the facility as shown by the large number of illegal drugs and other contraband confiscated by authorities in recent raids, Garcia said.
Among the items seized during the raid were 19 packs of shabu, assorted drug equipment, 80 cellular phones and P92,000 worth of cash. A cellular phone was also recovered inside the detention cell of suspected big-time drug lord Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro.
“The order to conduct the operation did not come from President Duterte, but from Governor Hilario Davide, as confirmed by PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon, who should take full responsibility in its conduct being the keeper of the jail under Section 1731 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917,” Garcia said.
During a visit to Cebu last March 4, Vice President Leni Robredo condemned the raid, and described the treatment of inmates as “troubling, cruel and inhumane”, citing the possible violations of the Anti-Torture Act (R.A. 9745).
Photos of inmates stripped naked and huddled in the jail quadrangle during the early morning raid circulated online and were splashed in the front pages of local dailies the day after.
“CPDRC, once a world-class institution and a showcase of best practices in prisoner rehabilitation and incarceration, is now beset with serious issues of mismanagement that earned rebuke from various sectors,” Garcia said.
Amnesty International likened the raid to the Auschwitz concentration camps maintained by Nazi Germany during World War II, and denounced it as “cruel, inhumane, abhorrent, degrading treatment of prisoners and violative of the rights of the inmates.”