Maguindanao massacre convicts told: Bilibid not a hotel
MANILA, Philippines — “Hotel ba yung pupuntahan nila [Are they going to a hotel?],” Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Col. Gabriel Chaclag said Friday in a phone interview as he mentioned that representatives of some of those convicted in the Maguindanao massacre case had approached him over issues of inmate treatment and lack of prison facilities.
Chaclag declined to give further details on who had approached him, but noted that they were mostly lawyers claiming to represent families of those convicted.
Chaclag reiterated BuCor Director Gerald Bantag’s earlier statement that the Maguindanao massacre convicts will be treated equally.
“Maging realistic tayo,” Chaclag said explaining that a person’s status outside of prison has no value once they are admitted inside the country’s prison facility.
“They will be treated like the other PDLs (persons deprived of liberty),” Chaclag said.
Last Dec. 19, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court found eight members of the prominent Ampatuan clan and 20 others guilty for 57 counts of murder and meted them the penalty of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years imprisonment) without parole.
Aside from former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, also found guilty as principal and sentenced to reclusion perpetua without parole were his brothers Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., Datu Anwar Sajid “Datu Ulo” Ampatuan, Datu Anwar “Datu Ipi” Ampatuan Jr., Insp. Saudi Mokamad, PO1 Jonathan Engid, Abedin Alamada, Talembo “Tammy” Masukat, Theng P. Sali, Manny Ampatuan, Nasser Esmael, Chief Insp. Sukarno Dicay, Supt. Abusama Mundas Maguid, and Supt. Bahnarin Kamaong.
Also found guilty were Datu Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Tato Tampogao, Mohades Ampatuan, Mohamad T. Datumanong, Misuari Ampatuan, Taya Bangkulat, Salik Bangkulat, Thong Guiamano, Sonny K. Pindi, Armando Ambalgan, Kudza Masukat Uguia, Edres Kasan, Zacaria P. Akil, and Samaon Andatuan.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said 27 of the 28 convicts have already been transferred to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
“Nasa NBP na lahat [everyone is in NBP] except one who was both convicted and acquitted pending clarification,” Guevarra said referring to Supt. Bahnarin Kamaong.
Meanwhile, Chaclag said the Maguindanao massacre convicts are already inside the NBP’s Maximum Security Compound instead of the Reception and Diagnostic Center (RDC) to start the standard operating procedure (SOP) for new inmates.
“They have their own secured places inside the Maximum Security,” Chaclag said adding that they opted to send them straight to the Maximum Security Compound because of their number.
“Masyado silang marami para sa RDC [They are too many to stay at the RDC.],” said Chaclag.
Under the SOP, new inmates will be photographed and fingerprinted. The BuCor will also do physical and psychological evaluations, counseling and briefing on prison rules and regulations as part of the ‘acclimatization’ process for newly arrived inmates.
Edited by MUF
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.