In-house psychiatrist needed for CPDRC inmates

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Victor Anthony V. Silva June 11,2015 - 11:44 PM

After the strange seizures  reported among 12 inmates of the Cebu provincial jail this week,  authorities are raising anew the need to assign a psychiatrist to attend to inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC).

Psychologist Rose Gonato  of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center raised this after examining a 34-year-old female inmate who who was the first victim of what jail authorities believed were cases of possession by evil spirits.

The doctor, however, said the behaviour was more of mass hysteria.

“For now, the inmate is okay. She’s doing well. There is no need to isolate her from the others. Her normal routine was continued,” she told reporters after her one-hour interview with the inmate.

But she said there is a possibility that her unusual behavior might recur if nobody helps her.

“For now, we need to reassure the inmate that the conditions that triggered her behavior will be minimized since we cannot eliminate them altogether,” Gonato said.

The 34-year-old inmate went berserk at past 3 a.m. last Monday, an incident which other prisoners described as a case of “demonic possession.”

Eleven other inmates followed suit in a span of two days.

Each showed similar signs that the first female inmate manifested-stiff limbs, unusual strength, and strange voices, accompanied by convulsions.

Gonato said she only evaluated one inmate because she was the first who started displaying violent behavior.

She said the inmate suffered from anxiety triggered by the long wait on the status of her case and being separated from her family.

“The others, being vulnerable as well, were exposed to the behavior and thought that it should be their reaction as well. The female inmate was so overwhelmed. Her problems just compounded,” Gonato said.


The inmate, a resident of barangay Pasil, Cebu City, was arrested in Sogod town, northern Cebu, on illegal drug charges.

Gonato and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) will submit the recommendation to the Provincial Jail management.

Gonato said the inmate should be referred to another mental health professional.

“Should the behavior manifest in any of the inmates again, they should be isolated from the others,” Gonato said.

Jail Warden Romeo Manansala said they asked the provincial government  before to provide a psychiatrist even fore Australian detainee Hilton Reece Munro took his life inside his isolation cell last April.

Evil influence

“I am sure the governor is already aware of our need. We are just waiting when they will grant our request,” he told reporters.

An official of the Cebu Archdiocese also dismissed reports that the 12 inmates suffered from demonic possession.

“Total demonic possession happens when the devil is in full control of a person. This , however, is not the case at hand,” said Fr. Cresenciano Ubod, chairman of the Cebu Archdiocesan Prison Apostolate.

Ubod, who visited the inmates yesterday morning, said they were burdened with anxiety, hatred and loneliness.

“There are inmates who harbor ill feelings against one another.  These things invite and welcome evil power. The devil easily manipulates sinners. Since negative thoughts and practices are present among some inmates, I should say that evil influence is also there,” Ubod said.

During his one-hour meeting with the inmates, Fr. Ubod said the inmates wept as they reached out to enemies inside the jail.

“In order to counter evil, I urged them to keep on praying, and to love one another according to God’s love,” he said.

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TAGS: barangay Pasil, Cebu, Cebu Archdiocesan Prison Apostolate, Cebu City, Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, CPDRC, Fr. Cresenciano Ubod, Hilton Reece Munro, northern Cebu, Provincial Jail, Provincial Jail management, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, PSWDO, Rose Gonato, Sogod, Sogod town, Vicente Sotto, VSMMC

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