By Analou De Vera
Twelve individuals were found inside a “secret lock-up cell” at the Manila Police District Station 1 in Tondo, Manila after members of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) conducted a surprise visit.
The CHR reportedly received information that there exists a “secret holding cell” inside the station and that the police were extorting money from relatives of inmates in exchange for their freedom, said Gilbert Boiser, director of the CHR investigation office.
The alleged “secret room” was found hidden behind a book shelf. The room is dark and narrow and there is only one urinal inside.
P/Supt. Robert Domingo, chief of MPD Station 1, for his part, denied the allegations and said the area is only a “holding room” of the station’s drug enforcement unit and that the 12 individuals were detained inside because they have yet to undergo inquest proceedings.
Domingo said the detainees were placed inside the “holding cell” because the regular detention cell is already “congested.” The 12 individuals, he added, will be moved to the station’s regular cell after undergoing inquest procedures.
Domingo also bared that the 12 individuals were arrested early morning of April 27 during their ‘One-Time-Big-Time’ Operation for possession of illegal drugs. The operation was conducted for security of the delegates of the on-going Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila, he said.
The CHR condemned the act and said the detention cell should be well ventilated and have proper beddings for the detainees. Boiser said that they are planning to file a case against the officials of MPD- Station 1.
Domingo,on the other said, he is prepared to face charges.