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‘NO SPECIAL TREATMENT’

Guevarra justifies transfer of 10 high-profile convicts from Bilibid

/ 06:35 PM September 06, 2019
DOJ chief: Not more than 10 freed convicts surrendered after President's order

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. INQUIRER.net file photo / CATHY MIRANDA

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday defended the decision to transfer 10 high-profile convicts from the National Bilibid Prison (NBP), saying there was no special treatment involved in it.

He pointed out that the safety of the top-level inmates was considered for their transfer to the Philippines Marines compound in Taguig City.

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CNN Philippines earlier reported that among those transferred from NBP were convicts who testified against Senator Leila de Lima, who is being detained at Camp Crame because of drug charges.

“I was informed there were certain concerns about these people, about these PDLs (persons deprived of liberty)  inside the penitentiary so there was a proposal to transfer them to a more secure location in a marine facility inside AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) compound,” Guevarra said.

“It’s not for the purpose of giving them special treatment. But because their personal security is under threat,” he added.

‘Nothing irregular’

According to Guevarra, there was “nothing irregular” regarding the transfer of the 10 high-profile prisoners.

He said that “as long as a court approval is secured, I guess that should be okay.”

“Because the intention is not to provide any special treatment but to secure precisely these people who are to my understanding or recollection will be or are witnesses in an existing case,” he explained.

However, the justice chief admitted that he does not have direct knowledge on whether there was indeed a court approval on the 10 inmates’ transfer of facility. He said he was merely informed about the proposal to transfer the said criminals from NBP to the Philippines Marines compound.

“I was just informed regarding the proposal. What happened afterwards if the appropriate documentation was done or court approval was secured, I am not privy after that,” he said. /kga

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