Crowded Taguig police detention cell reports another casualty
A 30-year-old detainee at the Taguig City Police Station died on Saturday after he reportedly had trouble breathing in a cell built for just 50 inmates that was holding almost 300 people.
Chief Insp. Ramon Christian Laygo, head of the Taguig City police investigation section, said he was waiting for the autopsy results to determine what killed Isidro Obquia Jr., who was rushed to Taguig Pateros District Hospital after he complained of shortness of breath at 3:40 a.m.
Dead in less than a week
Obquia was declared dead 20 minutes later. He was arrested on Oct. 15, on charges of physical injuries.
“There was a medical examination before he was brought into the detention cell, and it declared him physically fit,” Laygo said. “There were no signs that he was ill.”
Laygo conceded that conditions at the custodial facility “probably” contributed to Obquia’s death, but like other police officials throughout Metro Manila who had overflowing detention cells, he seemed resigned to the situation.
“Imagine being confined in an area that’s overcrowded, where you can’t sleep properly,” Laygo said. “But we can’t do anything, that’s the facility we have.”
Similar case last month
He added that last month, another detainee also died after he had difficulty breathing inside the cell, despite his confinement in the hospital for four days.
Laygo said the transfer of some inmates to a newly built annex facility and the organization last month of a medical mission helped improve conditions slightly, but the cell where Obquia was kept still had a very high congestion rate.
When suspects are arrested, they are detained in police stations until a judge issues an order for their transfer to city or municipal prisons.
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