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Just when you thought our prison system couldn’t get any worse (what with the shenanigans of the so-called VIP prisoners and other dubious practices), this story comes up.
“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,” reports Tetch Torres-Tupas on Inquirer.net.
The Sep 21, 2015 letter signed by Atty. Ma. Lourdes E.B. Oliveros, Sereno’s staff head, reads: “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.”
The source cited in the report revealed that “the inmate and his wife were known by prisoners because they used to sell appliances, game consoles, and gadgets.” The report said that the prisoner’s wife was targeted because they were unable to provide the game console that a Bilibid guard was asking for.
The rape allegedly happened sometime in Jun 2013, around the time that the inmate was placed in solitary confinement.
The report noted: “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 story first 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.”
At the time, 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 inmate made one other move to get someone to listen to his story. In Dec 2013, he allegedly asked a visiting priest on to send a letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima via LBC. The report didn’t say if De Lima ever got the letter.
In any case, the inmate once again sent a handwritten letter to Lansangan in Feb 2014. However, as the report recalled, “Lansangan was later 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 received an email from email@example.com, which once again “was requesting an investigation into the alleged gang rape incident.”
On Jun 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 DOJAC letter signed by program director Atty. Perla Duque reads: “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.”
Photo: News clip