DOJ forms panel to probe hospitalization of 'VIP inmates'

Posted at 06/19/14 12:57 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has created a 3-member Fact-Finding Panel to further probe the "unauthorized outside movements of inmates of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) facilities," specifically, the outside hospitalization of high-profile inmates.

In a 2-page order, dated June 17, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima designated BuCor Undersecretary-in-charge Francisco Baraan III as the chairman of the committee, with members: National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director for Intelligence Service Jose Doloiras and State Counsel Charles Cambaliza.

Baraan has just completed an initial investigation into the unauthorized outside hospitalization of 3 high-profile New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) inmates: Ricardo Camata, a convicted druglord and leader of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik Gang; Amin Buratong, also a convicted druglord; and Herbert Colangco, leader of a bank robbery gang, in May.

Baraan submitted a 9-page Initial Report, and initiated the relief of NBP and NBP Hospital officials.

"In the interest of the service, pursuant to provisions of existing laws, and acting on the Initial Report, dated 9 June 2014 submitted by Undersecretary Francisco F. Baraan III, Re: Outside Movement of Maximum Security Inmate Ricardo Camata and his (Camata's) reported female visitors while confied at the Metropolital Medical Center in Binondo, Manila, and on other reports about outside movements/hospitalization of other high-profile inmates, a Fact-Finding Committee is hereby created..." the order read.

The Fact-Finding Committee is tasked to "investigate further the incident involving inmate Ricardo Camata, as well as validate and probe similar recent incidents involving other high-profile inmates, towards the end of gathering and evaluating relevant information" for the possible filing of administrative and criminal charges against those found to have violated any law or policy.


Regarding the incident involving Camata, who was confined for days at the Metropolitan Medical Center, the committee is tasked to "[d]etermine whether any administrative and/or criminal liability has been incurred by BuCor officials and personnel in allowing Mr. Camata to be taken to, and confined in an outside facility for several days without authorization, prior or otherwise, from the undersigned (De Lima), and for allowing him to have unmonitored guests during said period, including the individuals mentioned in the Initial Report."

The same directive was issued for other similar incidents that may be validated by the Fact-Finding Committee.

Camata's case became controversial after it was found by the Baraan initial probe that he was allowed outside hospitalization under an "emergency pass" that did not entail a life-threatening medical emergency.

This was compounded by the fact that he received unauthorized female visitors inside his hospital room in at least 2 separate occasions: starlet Krista Miller, and 2 unidentified female "dancers."

These visits were recorded via a CCTV camera installed right outside Camata's room, and formed part of Baraan's initial investigation and report.

The Fact-Finding Committee was also tasked to "recommend appropriate measures in order to prevent future occurrences, including the drafting of guidelines and/or regulations that define the responsibilities and actions to be taken by all involved before, during and after similar incidents of emergency hospitalization and/or outside medical consultations."

The Baraan Fact-Finding Committee has until July 18 to submit its report to the justice chief.