PNP Custodial Center chief sacked for ‘special treatment’ of senators

Bea Cupin

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PNP Custodial Center chief sacked for ‘special treatment’ of senators
Custodial center chief Superintendent Mario Malana is relieved after Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada are allowed to receive visitors beyond the allowed hours

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police on Thursday, July 3, fired the head of its Custodial Center after detained senators violated the rule on visiting hours over the weekend.

Jailed over graft and plunder charges are Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr and Jinggoy Estrada, for allegedly pocketing millions of pesos in pork barrel funds through fake projects and bogus non-governmental organizations.

The two surrendered on June 20 and  23, respectively. Plunder is a non-bailable offense. 

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac told reporters on Thursday that custodial center chief Superintendent Mario Malana was held liable for the violation of visiting hour rules. (IN PHOTOS: Senators’ detention center in Camp Crame)

Taking over as officer-in-charge of the Camp Crame detention facility is Superintendent Peter Limbauan.

Watch this report below.


Over the weekend, media camped outside the custodial center reported blatant violations of visiting hours. Last week, the two senators were only allowed visitors every Thursday and Sunday, from 9 am to 3 pm.

On June 28, Saturday, however visitors reportedly stayed inside the custodial center past midnight.

Sindac explained that Estrada had asked for the extension to celebrate his wedding anniversary. The extra visiting day was sanctioned, but the extended visiting hours were not.

On Monday, June 30, PNP Headquarters Support Service head Chief Superintendent Benito Estipona ordered Malana to explain the reported violation.

Special treatment?

The PNP has long been hounded by accusations of giving “special treatment” to personalities involved in the pork barrel scam. The speculations began when alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles surrendered, and continued with the detention of the two senators.

Reporters also saw family, friends, and visitors bringing food inside and outside the custodial center freely, aside from the extended visiting hours. 

Napoles, meanwhile, is currently detained at a PNP training camp in Laguna.

Following reports of visiting hour violations, the PNP changed its policy in the custodial center.

On Tuesday, July 1, the PNP introduced longer visiting hours for detainees. Detainees can now receive visitors up to 6 times a week – from Tuesday to Friday between 1 pm and 5 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday between 8 am to 5 pm.

The new visiting hours also apply to other detainees and follow hours set by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

‘Move Bong, Jinggoy’

But detainees on Wednesday, July 2, defended Malana, saying media reports on the extended hours were “grossly exaggerated.” In a letter released to media, the detainees said replacing the warden would not solve problems at the custodial center.

Ang problema ay ang dalawang senador na nakakulong dito at ang sobrang tutok ng media sa kanila. Ang tunay na solution ay ang paglilipat sa mga senador sa kulungang akma sa sitwayson nila,” the detainees wrote in a letter signed by the likes of alleged communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

(The problem here are the two senators and the media attention they get. The real solution is to move them to a jail better suited for their condition.)  

Listed as signatories in the appeal are dismissed police officer Hansel Marantan, accused in the Atimonan massacre and Richard Cambe, Revilla’s former political staff and co-accused in the scam.

The custodial center, located at the heart of the PNP’s national headquarters, is home to many high-profile detainees. The two senators, however, are housed in a special, newly-renovated section of the compound initially intended as the quarters for officers assigned there. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.