DOJ wants third-party witness during cremation of inmates — NBP exec
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra wants third-party individuals to witness the cremation of inmates from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), to ease doubts of the public on the identity of convicts who died of the coronavirus disease, according to the director of the NBP Hospital.
“Nakausap po namin si SOJ (Secretary of Justice) at isa sa mga payo nya sa amin ay from the time na magsu-swabing tayo, buhay pa ‘yung pasyente kahit sinong pasyente, kailangan may representative ng DOH,” Dr. Henry Fabro told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo on Wednesday.
(We spoke with SOJ and one of his advice for us is from the time that we will conduct a swab test, there should be a representative from the DOH.)
“Tapos ang sabi rin kung pwede simula ngayon, magkaroon ng third party na witness kapag nagcremation,” he added.
(He also said that if possible, there should also be a third party witness during cremation.)
Fabro said Guevarra did not expound who could be the third party witness, but added that perhaps the witness should be from a “neutral” party.
Fabro also said he personally wanted to make sure transparency measures are made on the identities of inmates who died due to COVID-19 and other causes.
“Gusto namin at sa akin personally na maging transparent. In fact, yesterday pinakita na po namin ‘yung mga death certificates at ibang mga larawan,” said Fabro.
(We, and I personally, want to be transparent. In fact yesterday, we already showed the death certificates and other pictures.)
The DOJ officially confirmed on Monday the death of high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian at the national penitentiary, after reports from sources that Sebastian, who was set to testify in the drug case against Senator Leila De Lima, has died due to COVID-19.
When asked about the other high-profile inmates who reportedly died at NBP, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete earlier said: “We await submission of their death certificates to confirm their death and the cause thereof.”
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