Epileptic man 3rd to die in packed Novaliches jail since July
An epileptic detained at the Novaliches station of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) died on Thursday afternoon apparently due to the jail congestion that had aggravated his health condition.
Officials said Darwin Barbadillo, a 40-year-old drug suspect arrested on Sept. 3, was seen gasping for air around 4:55 p.m. He was brought to Novaliches District Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Doctors noted that his body bore no signs of external injury caused by a violent attack but had several boils (pigsa), according to the incident report.
In July, two other detainees of QCPD-Novaliches died because of health problems.
According to Supt. April Mark Young, the Novaliches station commander, the police “were not informed” prior Barbadillo’s detention that he was an epileptic.
He said they only learned about it from the detainee’s wife after he died.
Asked if Barbadillo underwent the mandatory medical exam before he was jailed, Young said yes but explained that the routine involved only “an external physical examination.”
Young pointed out that the station’s detention facilities were built for just 15 to 20 people each. Due to the intensified campaign against drugs, however, the cells have been holding more than a hundred people at a time.
“Even if we decongest the cells with 10 detainees committed (to other jails) by the court each week, we would be arresting just as many by the following week,” he told the Inquirer.
Sought for comment, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, said that as the district waits for the construction of bigger detention facilities, he had ordered the cleanup and disinfection of the jails
to mitigate the effects of overcrowding on the detainees’ health.
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