BJMP: No such thing as VIP jail

Posted at 07/28/14 4:03 PM

MANILA - The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology rejected Monday accusations that it is building a jail for very important persons (VIPs) such as Janet Lim Napoles and lawyer Gigi Reyes in Camp Bagong Diwa.

In a statement, the BJMP said the jail facility being constructed at Camp Bagong Diwa adjacent the Taguig City Jail is a High Risk/ High Profile jail facility and not a VIP jail facility.

The bureau said the building was proposed last 2012 to address the growing number of high risk and high profile inmates.

"High risk inmates are inmates who have the capacity or the tendency to escape and or causing jail disturbance while high profile are inmates who are well known in the society and have sensationalized case being talked about by the media including but not limited to high ranking officials and celebrities," it said.

The group Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) has criticized the government for reportedly constructing a "first class jail" meant only for high-profile detainees.

SELDA said the so-called state of the art jail is one of the projects funded by the Disbursement Acceleration Program, based on Malacañang’s list in its effort to justify DAP, which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

"While the total cost of the jail construction remains unknown, an amount of P20 million from DAP was allocated for the jail. Situated next to the building of Taguig City Jail, the female detainees can see through the corridors the ongoing construction of the 'first-class jail.' The facility can house three inmates in a room and will have a courtroom for hearing of cases," SELDA said.

The female political prisoners said they cannot help but compare their detention facility with that of the planned first class jail. "Detainees in regular jails suffer, they are cramped in small spaces. There is a shortage of beds. And there is lack of water supply and facilities for those who are sick," they said.