Duterte seeks probe of drug trade raps vs ComVal jail warden freed by NPA
NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would ask the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to look into allegations that Compostela Valley jail warden Jose Marvin Coquilla was involved in the illegal drugs trade inside the provincial jail.
The allegations against Coquilla were brought up by the New People’s Army (NPA) after snatching him on Dec. 23.
“I have yet to ask the higher authorities to investigate,” Duterte said as he turned Coquilla over to provincial authorities, barely an hour after the NPA set him free Monday.
But the Davao City mayor, who had been involved in previous releases of NPA prisoners, said the public should not jump to conclusions about Coquilla before an investigation.
“Until then, it would be unfair to make a hasty judgment. The guy is entitled to due process,” Duterte said.
Coquilla had already denied the allegations against him.
He admitted that illegal drugs have proliferated inside the Compostela Valley jail, where about half of the inmates were involved in drugs.
Coquilla said measures have been taken to address the problem but he admitted these might not have been successful.
Rubi del Mundo, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front – Southern Mindanao Region, said in a statement that Coquilla’s release did not mean he was innocent of the allegations.
He said the NPA just “suspended the judicial proceedings against Coquilla as a humanitarian act in response to the pleas of his family and representatives from the government and well-meaning individuals, and as a gesture of compassion and mercy—a message that is reverberating in the country with the recent visit of Pope Francis.”
“The release of respondent Coquilla, however, does not preclude the revolutionary forces from subjecting him to future arrest and detention if the masses file new charges against him and if he is found to be unremorseful,” del Mundo added.
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