CHR probes ambush-slay of Talisay prisoners

By: Benjie B. Talisic July 21,2018 - 10:23 PM

THE Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) has stepped in to investigate the killing of three Talisay City Jail inmates while on board the service vehicle of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Central Visayas (BJMP-7).

“These inmates were under the custody of the government and hence expected to be safe. We will find out whether the BJMP and its jail guards committed lapses in securing inmates,” said CHR-7 Director Arvin Odron in a phone interview on Saturday.

He said no person, even those behind bars, should die in such a manner.

“This incident is a clear manifestation of the weakening capacity of the state to protect and ensure the safety of its people. Anybody can be attacked in broad daylight with ease,” he said.

“The CHR condemns the spate of killings involving government officials, suspected criminals, innocent civilians, and even involving those under the custody of the state,” he added.

Fourteen men on board six motorcycles opened fire at the service vehicle of the BJMP while it was on its way to the Talisay City Hall of Justice past 9 a.m. on Friday. All three inmates on board the BJMP vehicle — Yayam Gaviola, Marwin Abelgas, and Rabadon Jovencio — were killed. The two jail guards who escorted the inmates and the driver of the BJMP vehicle were not harmed.

Chief Supt. Arnold Buenacosa, BJMP-7 director, said they were conducting their own probe to determine if some security protocols were violated.

He said BJMP officials were reviewing their security protocol in transporting inmates from the jails to the courts.

“I just don’t want a repeat of last Friday’s incident,” he said.

Confidential

The names of the three BJMP personnel who accompanied the three inmates were kept confidential while an investigation is being conducted.

“They risked their lives. It was an ambush and the situation was beyond their control. These three BJMP personnel are undergoing debriefing. Let’s respect their privacy,” Buenacosa said.

Jail visits at the Talisay City Jail were immediately cancelled following the killing of three inmates just 300 meters away from the gate of the jail.

Buenacosa said jail officials will assess whether or not to restore the inmates’ visitation rights on Monday.

At least 10 operatives of the Special Weapons and Tactics from the city police were deployed to the Talisay City Jail on Friday to assist the about 60 jail personnel in securing the inmates.

Buenacosa called on jail guards in all BJMP facilities to be always on alert against possible attacks from lawless elements.

“We need to be alert especially while transporting inmates to the courts for scheduled hearings,” he said. /with MOREXETTE ERRAM

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