SC temporarily halts commitment orders to jails under BJMP
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered all trial court judges nationwide to suspend the issuance of commitment orders to jails managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez has issued the circular on the request of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
The purpose of Año’s request was to “prevent further contamination (of COVID-19) among persons deprived of liberty in all jail units nationwide.”
BJMP has a congestion rate of 534 percent in its 467 jails. As of June, over 700 inmates have tested positive of the virus while over a hundred of its staff have been infected.
For now, Marquez directed all trial court judges to order the detention of suspected criminal offenders in the detention facilities of the Philippine National Police beginning July 22, and will be implemented until Aug. 31, 2020, unless extended “if warranted.”
He said PNP Chief Director General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, on the other hand, has issued an undertaking that “the PNP can, in the meantime, accommodate newly arrested PDLs.”
PNP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said for 125 days covering the period March 17 to July 19, 2020, there are still 3,059 quarantine violators still under detention.
But he said the PNP detention facilities can still accommodate PDLs. [ac]
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