40 inmates die in police cells but PNP says trying best to declog jails
Incoming Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde said Friday 40 inmates died inside the detention facilities in Metro Manila since 2016.
“If we are going to count those who died since July 2016, it’s around 40, in all of the detention cells of the Philippine National Police,” he said. “That is only in Metro Manila and most of them are in Pasay because our detention cells are too much congested,” added Albayalde, the current National Capitol Region Police Director.
Albayalde will replace Director General Ronald dela Rosa as PNP chief on April 18.
It can be recalled the number of prisoners began increasing after the government intensified its anti-illegal drug campaign in July 2016, when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
Despite the problem on overcrowded detention facilities, the PNP assures the public they are doing its best to address the problem.
“Inasmuch as the PNP wants to address the issue on overcrowded detention cell, we have to accept the fact that we only have limited available facilities,” said Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, the PNP spokesman.
“Nonetheless, we are doing our best to include in the proposed budget the construction of new police station buildings with improved detention facilities,” he said.
“Meantime, prisoners with commitment orders are being transferred to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facilities to declog the detention cells of the police stations,” he added.
Bulalacao said the police “investigators are also closely coordinating with the various courts to expedite the release of commitment orders so that all those who have been convicted could be transferred to the BJMP detention facilities which are much bigger than the detention facilities of the police stations.”
“Let me add also that if our request for fund for the construction of adequate police custodial facilities will be granted, the current situation in our jail facilities will be improved since we expect more arrests in the coming days as promised by the incoming CPNP (Chief, Philippine National Police) to sustain our campaign against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS