DAVAO CITY: THE New People’s Army (NPA) has admitted that it has under its “custody” Jose Mervin Coquilla, the provincial jail warden of Compostela Valley Province.
Ka Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the NPA-Comval-North Davao-South Agusan sub-regional command, said Coquilla is being investigated for negligence of duty and for illegal drugs trade in the Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center. He said the complainants are jail inmates themselves.
Coquilla was taken by armed NPA rebels outside his house in Panabo City at 7:45 pm on December 23.
“Coquilla was taken into custody by the NPA in order to subject him to an investigation to determine his individual culpability relating to the complaints lodged against him by jail inmates and their families before the People’s Democratic Government.
Complaints against him include willful negligence in the supervision of inmates and his direct and indirect, overt and covert participation in the drug trade and drug use inside the Comval jail,” said Francisco in a statement.
Gov. Arturo Uy has earlier condemned the disappearance of Coquilla labeling it as a “senseless act.”
Francisco said “Coquilla’s corruption has resulted in the inadequate medical and health care and food provision for inmates,” adding that the subordinate jail guards physically abused inmates to “exercise absolute and fascist control.” He also claimed that Coquilla “maintained double standards and discriminatory practices.”
“He supposedly imposes strict and inhumane regulations for visiting families who are forced to talk to their loved ones while behind bars but turns a blind eye to inmates who were caught using illegal drugs, and to jail guards who were involved in ferreting drugs inside the prison cells,” the statement also reads.
The Maoist group claimed that Coquilla’s “negligence, corruption and other related criminal acts” mirror the recently exposed scandalous and extravagant lifestyle of wealthy inmates and druglords inside the National Bilibid Prison.
While being investigated, Francisco said Coquilla will be presumed innocent until proven guilty and will be “treated leniently and humanely.”
“Coquilla’s custodial detention is governed by the rules of the NPA and is under the authority of the People’s Democratic Government. We assure his family that he is being treated well by the NPA and the revolutionary mass base,” he said.