MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed concern over the poor condition in overcrowded detention facilities in local police stations, following the death of an inmate in a Pasay City jail due to a heart attack brought about by congested quarters.
PNP Spokesperson Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said the national police had already asked for more funds to upgrade detention facilities in police station jail cells.
"In as much as the PNP wants to address the issue on overcrowded detention cells, we have to accept the fact that we only have limited available facilities," Bulalacao said.
The inmate, identified as Domingo delos Santos, was reportedly the third person to die in the Pasay City jail due to heat exhaustion since February.
The jail presently houses 143 prisoners in a 22-square meter facility.
"Nonetheless, we are doing our best to include in the proposed budget the construction of new police station buildings with improved detention facilities. Meantime, prisoners with commitment orders are already being transferred to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facilities to declog the detention cells of the police stations," he said.
Bulalacao added that police investigators are also closely coordinating with various courts to expedite the release of commitment orders so that those who have been convicted could be transferred to the BJMP's detention facilities, which have wider spaces than detention cells in police stations.
Incoming PNP chief Director Oscar Albayalde, for his part, likewise expressed concern over the conditions in local detention facilities.
In a DZMM interview, Albayalde, who currently sits as the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) regional director, said that since July 2016, 40 inmates had died in police detention cells in Metro Manila.
"The most number of deaths are in Pasay because of congested detention cells. The president (Rodrigo Duterte) is correct in saying we should have bigger detention cells for police jails because these are temporary. These are designed for just 30 people but house up to 100 detainees, so it is really a bad situation although we are coordinating and are regularly checking our detainees. These situations are unfortunate," Albayalde said in Filipino.
Albayalde said a faster system for courts in handing down commitment orders which would allow the transfer of detainees from police detention jails to regular jails run by the BJMP could vastly improve the situation.
Source: Philippine News Agency