No secret jails found, only overcrowded ones – Albayalde

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National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Oscar Albayalde on Friday conducted surprise inspections in different detention facilities in Metro Manila to look into the situation of the cells and prisoners there.

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JAIL INSPECTION PNP-NCRPO Director Oscar Albayalde makes a surprise inspection at the Manila Police District Command Headquarters jail on Friday and finds the detention facility overcrowded. Photo by RUSSELL PALMA

Albayalde first visited detention cells in Taguig then went to the Manila Police District.
The NCRPO regional director said all the detention facilities they went to have the same problems – overcrowding and poor living conditions.

“So far, the jails we went to are really overcrowded, all of them in Manila are like that. We saw the people detained there were sitting while sleeping and when we asked them how they get something to eat, they said they ‘chip in’,” Albayalde said.

He added that the purpose of the inspection was to see the real situation of jails to show the public that they are doing their part in finding hidden jails, similar to the one seen in the Raxabago Police Station in Tondo, Manila.

“We wanted to show to the citizens that we are not keeping secret jails and to present the conditions of the detained not just in Metro Manila but in the whole country,” he said.

Albayalde admitted that since the drug war started, the number of inmates have gone up and existing facilities are not able to sustain the volume.

“We saw here the scarcity and the lack of space in the jails of the different police stations. From the time we launched the war on drugs in July, the detainees did not just double. In Metro Manila, we counted from July 1, there were 200,208 arrested,” he said.

He also requested the courts to give the orders to expedite the transfer of inmates to proper detention facilities and lessen the volume in local jails.

“The only thing we can do in our own capacity is to request the different courts to please give the orders to transfer them [inmates]to regular city jails because we can’t transfer them without a court order,” he said.

Albaylde called upon other government agencies such as the Commission on Human Rights, Department of the Interior and Local Government and local government u nits to coordinate with the Philippine National Police to improve the living conditions inside the jails.

“We need to work with each other here. If we depend on the PNP fund, I think we might have a difficult time because once our fund is released it is already allocated. And most likely it will only include the construction of new police stations and not additional jail facilities,” he said.

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