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Pasay City Jail brawl sparks death of 2 inmates

The 22.8-square-meter city jail made for 40 inmates currently holds 143 detainees. INQUIRER file photo / MATTHEW REYSIO-CRUZ

An autopsy report on Tuesday revealed that the death of two inmates at the Pasay City jail, where fatalities have been piling up since February, was due to “traumatic injuries,” police said.

Supt. Gene Licud, Pasay deputy chief of police for operations, told the Inquirer that Eduardo Angeles, 48, and Arman Castillo, 32, were likely beaten on the head with a blunt object causing their death on Monday morning.

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Two Sigue Sigue Sputnik gang members, Elinoe Washington, 32, and Benjamin Cruz, 40, were allegedly behind the victims’ beating, according to police, although the cause of the brawl was still unclear.

A report from Senior Insp. Maynard Pascual said that Angeles and Castillo were rushed from the Station Drug Enforcement Team (SDET) custodial facility to Pasay General Hospital at about 7 a.m on Monday. They were declared dead on arrival.

Licud said that the jailer on duty at the time, PO1 Anthony Fernandez, was temporarily relieved pending investigation to “ferret out” his liability.

He added that Fernandez had seen a “commotion” brewing on the monitor from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera inside the cell, prompting him to rush to the facility, where both victims were already found lying on the ground.

He said, however, that the CCTV could only provide real-time monitoring and was unable to record footage.

“[The beating] was over and above the health problems the victims had,” Licud said.

The double death came less than two weeks after another inmate, Domingo delos Santos, became the third to die at the Pasay City police station due to the fatal combination of the scorching summer heat and congestion in the facility.

READ: Heat, congestion blamed for Pasay inmate’s death

An investigation was launched by the Philippine National Police in the wake of Delos Santos’ death to determine if there had been administrative lapses.

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Angeles and Castillo, both detained for drug-related cases, are only two of the 60 prisoners held at the cell, which was meant to be a temporary holding facility with a 25-person capacity.

“Of course, [most of the inmates] here are hotheaded because of the heat,” Licud said. “Even after we placed two big exhaust fans, the heat is still the same.”

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, PNP spokesperson, had earlier said that prisoners were mounting at city jails because of the glacial pace at which courts were issuing commitment orders, which allow prisoners to be transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology jails.

The last fatality at the Pasay City jail, Delos Santos, died at the holding cell beside the city police investigation section, a 22.8-square-meter facility—meant for 40 prisoners—that houses 143 detainees.

“It’s difficult to be in jail here in the Philippines,” Licud said. “If you aren’t killed, then you die from sickness.” /jpv

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TAGS: Crime, death, detention, Jail, Metro, news, Pasay
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