Secret cell demolished, senators want investigation

(CNN Philippines, May 3) — The secret jail discovered inside a police station in Tondo, Manila by the Commission on Human Rights has been demolished.

PO3 Dexter Maniaul, desk officer of the Manila Police District Station 1 at Raxabago, said the jail was demolished after the visit of National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde last Friday.

Police officers prohibited taking videos of the area where the jail once stood pending clearance from higher police officials.

The CHR discovered the secret jail, which was hidden behind a bookshelf, during a surprise inspection of the police station on April 27.

The secret jail cell was discovered by a team from the Commission on Human Rights inside the Raxabago Police Station in Tondo, Manila.

Twelve persons were in the jail cell when it was discovered.

Read more: CHR finds 12 people detained behind Tondo police station bookshelf

Resolution to be filed for jail cell probe

Senators called on the Philippine National Police to clean up its ranks to bring legitimacy to the Duterte administration's drug war.

Sen. Bam Aquino filed Resolution 348 seeking to investigate the secret jail cell, saying the Philippine National Police should safeguard the public's trust by ensuring that abusive policemen are investigated and punished accordingly.

Sen. Ping Lacson on the other hand, clarified his stand on PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa's statement defending his policemen from the jail cell.

"Well I did not say that Chief dela Rosa was arrogant, that single act, how he responded, to the comments about 'yung sa secret cell, 'yung manner ng pag-ano niya, 'yun 'yung nire-refer kong arrogant [his manner of response is what I refered to as arrogant]."

Lacson took to Twitter to express his disappointment after the PNP Chief defended his policemen in a TV interview, saying they had done nothing wrong.

As dela Rosa's former boss, Lacson said although he wants dela Rosa to succeed, he reiterates there's no reason for dela rosa to defend the existence of the secret jail cell.

"As simple as this nakita mo merong violation that's plain view," Lacson said. "Even during parang implementation of search warrants—maski hindi covered ng search warrants at nakita mong in plain view na may violation, pwede ka naman mag-act d'un. It's just good as saying na nandoon na 'yung violation right in front of you being committed kasi malinaw sa batas hindi pwede 'yung secret cell."

[Translation: As simple as this--a violation is in plain view. Even during the implementation of search warrants--even if it's not covered by a warrant and the violation is in plain view, you can act on it. It's just as good as saying that the violation is being committed in front of you, because the law clearly states secret cells are not allowed.]

Sen. Grace Poe agreed with Lacson, saying in CNN Philippines' the source that the public should not lose confidence in the country's law enforcement and judicial system.

 

"Isn't it quite disturbing also that if that's your child, nawala 'yung anak mo, pumunta ka sa selda, di mo nakita, walang blotter, walang record. E di parang desaparecidos, parang ganoon na rin 'yon kasi walang record so para sa akin kaya nga tayo, wag na nating pasamain ang sitwasyon," Poe said.

Poe hoped that the PNP and the Justice Department will file cases so that international courts do not recognize and take over the investigations.

CNN Philippines' Correspondents Xianne Arcangel and Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.