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CHR probes ‘maltreatment’ of inmates in Cebu City jail

By: Inna Gian Mejia, Nestle L. Semilla August 02,2017 - 11:38 PM

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak together with Lawyer Leo Villarino of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR-7) walks out of BBRC after they visit for inquiry on the allegation of an escape inmate.

The Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) has launched its investigation on the alleged maltreatment of inmates at the city jail in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City.

Leo Villarino, acting chief of CHR-7 investigation division, said they had started the probe on Tuesday when they talked to detainee Marvin Gimpeso.
Their initial investigation showed the bruises and scratches found on Gimpeso’s body were sustained while escaping from the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center.

“The bruises and the pain in his waist were caused by the impact of his fall when he jumped from the fence,” said Villarino said.
Gimpeso, who has been detained for possession of illegal drugs since April 22, escaped from city jail by breaking the rusty prison bars and jumping from the fence.

But he surrendered to Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak on the same day after he was spotted in Barangay Suba, Cebu City.

Gimpeso claimed he bolted out of prison because he could no longer take the maltreatment from prison guards.

He also claimed that they were served uncooked food that was not even fit for consumption.

Supt. Arnel Peralta, Cebu City jail warden, denied the prisoners were being maltreated, saying he was willing to have Gimpeso’s inmates undergo medical check-up to belie the escapee’s allegation.

“(I assure that) no human rights violation happened here (in city jail),” he said.

Peralta denied that the reports that a riot broke out inside the city jail on Monday night when Gimpeso was removed from the cell for drug offenders and transferred to the cell of one of the “mayores” for security reason.

He explained that the inmates staged a noise barrage because they wanted Gimpeso to stay in his old cell.

“Naa lay tulo ka inmates nga gusto siya ibalik sa iyahang original nga cell. Naglagot naman mga inmates niya tungod sa iyahang pag-escape. So nag-saba-saba sila para mabalik siya sa ilahang selda (Three inmates want him back to his old cell. They were angry at him for escaping. That was why they made some noise so he would be returned to his old cell),” Peralta said.

To pacify the inmates, Peralta ordered that a tear gas be thrown at the inmates since they were getting out of control.

But Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters, sought the help of CHR-7 to look into the complaint of maltreatment and the reported noise barrage on Monday.

Tumulak said that he wanted an independent group to investigate the incident.

“This to verify the allegations of Gimpeso and to know what the city can do,” he said in Cebuano.

Tumulak also wanted the security inside city jail tightened following Gimpeso’s escape.

“They should improve their security. As the escapee said, niagi raman siya sa building (he just passed through the building),” Tumulak said.
Peralta admitted that there was a need to improve the security inside the jail facility.

He said that their building is already dilapidated that make it easy for inmates to escape.

“We really need logistics,” Peralta said.

But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said the city government would not provide financial assistance to the city jail.

He said he even had to cut off the subsidy after the BJMP refused to undergo an audit.

“Why would I give money if they would not allow us to audit?” he said.

Osmeña said the problems inside city jail were “not important enough” that he should handle these himself.

“If I have to pay attention to these things, I will have nothing else to do. I have so many things to do,” he said.

He said he would not give importance to law breakers as it was the job of BJMP to do solve the problem.

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TAGS: CHR, city, inmates, jail, maltreatment, probes

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