MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Security problems besetting the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) were further illuminated on New Year’s Day, January 1, when a visiting child of an inmate nearly got raped inside the maximum security facility.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters on Friday, January 2, that charges are being prepared against the concerned inmate.
“If confirmed that there was no rape, we will still file a case for attempted rape and child abuse,” De Lima said in an interview, adding that she has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the girl’s case.
In a separate interview with ANC, De Lima said the NBI medico-legal team is being careful in ruling out rape just yet.
“If further examinations can be conducted that would not cause any problem with respect to the child, that is my instruction. Just to really rule out. I want to be very very assured that there was no actual rape committed,” De Lima said.
Citing a report from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), De Lima said the 8-year-old girl was at the NBP in Muntinlupa City to visit her father on New Year’s Day when she went missing between 2 pm and 4 pm after she went to play with the visiting children of other inmates.
BuCor Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu said NBP personnel found the victim unconscious inside the toilet of the chapel in the facility, with no underwear and a rope around her neck.
De Lima said the victim could recall what happened before she passed out.
“[It appears that] the suspect intended to immobilize her before intending to sexually abuse her, to rape her so he had to strangle her. At least up to that point she remembered what happened,” De Lima said.
Bucayu said the victim was immediately taken to the NBP hospital and underwent medico-legal examination. The results showed that there was no evident congenital and laceration on the child’s private part.
Bucayu said that suspect, Norvin Domingo, came forward to admit the offense. Domingo was taken to the disciplinary cell while authorities prepare a criminal case against him.
“He will also be sanctioned administratively. He will face the Board of Discipline,” Bucayu said.
De Lima ordered concerned authorities to file the case before the prosecutor’s office by Monday.
Negligence on the part of correctional officers?
Bucayu said that for now, Domingo’s visiting privileges will be cancelled and his Good Conduct Time Allowance – which expedites the prison term of inmates – will also be affected.
The Department of Justice is also investigating whether prison officers committed a possible dereliction of duty following the incident.
“In fact, when I informed the President, the first thing he asked was, ‘What was the girl doing there unaccompanied?'” De Lima told ANC.
“It’s obviously the responsibility of the parents to make sure that minor children in their company should be attended to. That cannot exempt the correctional officers from also doing their share in ensuring that visitors and inmates alike are secured while inside the facility,” she added.
The incident took place after security and systemic problems in the NBP were highlighted by the discovery of high-profile convicts – including drug lords and murderers – enjoying luxurious lifestyle while serving time. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Drug lords, murderers, and high living in Bilibid)
The discovery has led to the relief of 7 NBP officials, among them, NBP superintendent Roberto Rabo, assistant director for operations Celso Bravo, and Davao Penal Farm superintendent Venancio Tesoro.
The others are NBP Maximum Security Compound Guards Commander Lucio Guevarra, NBP Special Patrol Unit chief Ricardo Sespene, NBP Inmates Visitation Services Unit Head Roberto Mandap, and Maximum Security Compound officer-in-charge Danilo Dador. (READ: 4 more jail officials axed over VIP convicts) – Rappler.com
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