Sereno office: Probe ‘gang-rape’ of inmate’s wife in Munti prison
Was an inmate’s wife gang-raped by prisoners and prison guards? The chief justice of the Supreme Court wants an investigation.
The Office of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate a complaint by an inmate that his wife was gang-raped by prisoners and prison guards inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) two years ago.
“We refer to your office for appropriate action and/or investigation … the complaint against several prison guards and prisoners at the Maximum Security Compound of the NBP, [where the inmate] alleges that said prison guards and prisoners gang raped his wife,” read the letter signed by Atty. Ma. Lourdes E.B. Oliveros, Sereno’s staff head. The letter was dated Sept. 21, 2015.
A source at the NBP told INQUIRER.net that the husband, whom the source did not identify over fears for the inmate’s life, took his plea to the Supreme Court after several letters to the DOJ requesting for an investigation on the alleged incident went unanswered.
The alleged incident came to light when the DOJ-Action Center (DOJAC) received an email on May 2, 2013, requesting the investigation and also protection for the inmate who has accused prison guards of conspiring with inmates to kidnap and rape his wife, who was then 25 years old.
DOJAC referred the letter to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), which then ordered then-NBP officer-in-charge Fajardo Lansangan to conduct the investigation.
The source said the inmate, apparently sensing that nothing was being done to his plea, asked a visiting priest on Dec. 9, 2013, to send a letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima via LBC.
Then, in Feb. 2014, the inmate again sent a handwritten letter to Lansangan with the same request, the source said. But Lansangan was ordered relieved of his post in June 2014 over the case of a convicted drug lord caught receiving visitors at his hospital room, including a starlet.
On May 21, 2015, DOJAC again received an email from a certain [email protected] requesting an investigation into the alleged gang rape incident.
In a first endorsement dated June 16, 2015, DOJAC referred the inmate’s letter to Justice Undersecretary Francisco F. Baraan III, who is in charge of BuCor matters, and to then bureau chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu.
“The certain inmate [is] requesting proper investigation of the plight of his wife who was allegedly gang raped by several prison guards and untouchable prisoners in the NBP and now suffering severe psychological trauma and undergoing medication,” said the DOJAC letter signed by program director Atty. Perla Duque.
The source told INQUIRER.net that the family of the inmate’s wife earlier suspected her of being used as a drug ‘’mule’’ by some prisoners and apparently relayed their concern to her husband, the inmate.
“Nalaglag kasi swelas ng tsinelas niya tapos sa loob po may siwang pwede kang maglagay ng mga sachet (The sole of the woman’s slipper fell off one time and it revealed a space where sachets could be placed),” the source said, adding that this prompted the inmate to call the attention of the prison guards.
The source explained that some inmates were reported to have used their relatives or relatives of other inmates to smuggle drugs in and out of the prison in Muntinlupa City.
According to the source, the inmate and his wife were known by prisoners because they used to sell appliances, game consoles and gadgets before 2013.
“That was probably where the victim met the other inmates who could have used her as a drug mule,” the source said.
In January 2013, the inmate was placed in solitary confinement.
“Nakainggitan daw dahil nanghihingi ng isang game console yung prison guard pero hindi nya binigyan (He apparently got the ire of one prison guard when he refused his request for one game console),” the source said.
The source said the wife, who visited her husband daily, was probably taken when she was on her way to visit her husband the same day he was taken to solitary confinement.
“Ilang metro din lalakarin mo mula sa gate papuntang bartolina (The solitary confinement cell is several meters from the gate),” the source said.
The source said the inmate was released from solitary confinement a day later, but he never saw his wife visit him again.
Relatives of the wife, according to the source, said the inmate tried to contact them in search of the victim but they were also clueless as to her whereabouts.
The source said the inmate told the prison guards that his wife was probably abducted. But he never got a definite answer, the source added.
Then in August, the wife was reunited with her husband.
Asked how the reunion went, the source quoted the inmate as saying: “Lumabas na lang siya. Pero hindi na tulad ng dati masayahin. Lagi na lang siyang tulala o umiiyak (She just came out. She was no longer the cheerful woman from before. She always cried or seemed lost).”
The inmate only learned of what happened to his wife from his father and mother-in-law. according to the source.
“Unti unti sinasabi nya [victim] yung nangyari sa kanya sa father-in-law nya at sa nanay nya pero kapag tinatanong sya ng mga detalye umiiyak na lang. Pinabayaan na lang na kusa syang magkwento paunti-unti (She slowly talked about what happened to her mother and father-in-law when asked, but cried when asked about details. So they just let her relate her ordeal slowly),” the source said.
It was the inmate’s father and mother-in-law who told him what happened to his wife.
The family pieced together the information from the victim, leading to the conclusion that she was gang raped.
The victim, the source said, suffered a breakdown and was confined at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) from September to December 2013.
Two years after the incident, another source said, “Tulala pa rin sya. Nakikita ko sya dumadalaw pa rin sa husband nya pero may kasama na syang kamag-anak (She still looks dazed. I see her visiting her husband but now accompanied by a relative).”
Early in October this year, the victim was again taken to the NCMH and was confined for weeks, the source said.