Dela Rosa's answer to cramped jails: Tie prisoners to posts
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief has an out-of-the-box solution to the perennial problem of jail congestion in the police stations: Tie prisoners to posts or railings.
In a chance interview with reporters on the sidelines of a shooting competition in Batangas on Wednesday, May 3, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa asked for public understanding days after a Manila police station was exposed for keeping secret cells.
He explained that the Manila cops were merely thinking of creative ways to decongest the tiny jail inside the police station. But Dela Rosa said even he will no longer accept that justification.
“Hindi ko na tatanggapin na rason yan dahil yun nga, kita mo naman na talagang violation yan (I won’t accept that reason because as you can see, it’s really a violation),” said Dela Rosa.
Instead, this is what policemen can do, according to their chief:
“Sabi ko sa kanila kung punong puno na ang inyong kulungan, wala kayong magawa kundi itali nalang ninyo yung mga priso sa mga poste poste sa loob ng istasyon ninyo o kaya sa don sa mga rehas para hindi makalayas, basta lang makita... makita ng tao. Transparent tayo. Bahala na kung parang maging transparent yung parang inhumane na sitwasyon."
(I told them if the jail is really filled to capacity, you’ll have no choice but to tie the detainees to the posts inside your station or to the railing just so they are unable to escape. As long as they’re visible. We’re transparent. We’ll see what happens if we’re transparent even when it comes to the inhumane situations in jails.)
And to make sure that no other “hidden jails” exist in other police stations nationwide, Dela Rosa ordered an inventory of all detention cells under the jurisdiction of the police.
“Siguraduhin natin, buong Pilipinas. Orderan ko lahat ng RDs (regional director) na mag inventory sila, dapat walang existing na ganon dahil yan ay labag sa batas (We’ll make sure, the entire country. I’ll order all RDs to make an inventory. None of those cells should exist because it’s against the law),” said Dela Rosa.
The order came days after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), an independent body tasked to check alleged abuses by state forces as government pursues its war on drugs, discovered a hidden jail cell inside the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 1 in Tondo, Manila.
Around 12 men and women, all drug suspects, were found detained in a narrow alleyway hidden behind a bookshelf during a surprise visit on April 27.
Dela Rosa had infamously defended the police running the station, amid allegations they had extorted and abused the detainees. The PNP chief, who visited the station the day after the CHR inspection, said he spoke to the detainees himself and they all recanted their allegations against the police.
Police have been accused of arbitrarily detaining the suspects, torturing them, and extorting money in exchange for their freedom. Dela Rosa said all of those are untrue.
The station commander of the Manila Police Station 1 and the Drug Enforcement Unit personnel from the station have since been relieved pending an investigation. – Rappler.com