A city jail official has denied reports aired mostly in social media claiming that Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III has been receiving special treatment in detention.
“Lahat ng inmates dito sa Puerto Princesa City Jail ay pantay-pantay lamang ang treatment,” JCINSP Lino Soriano said in a press conference Tuesday.
Soriano denied claims that Marcaida’s visitors were being allowed in the facility until late in the evening and that his cell has an air conditioner, a refrigerator and other electronic appliances, and that he is allowed to use a cellular phone.
“Ang prescribed lang na magkaroon sa kulungan ay siyempre proper ventilation nila, ‘yung regular na electric fan lamang. Hindi natin ino-authorized ang aircon o kahit ano bukod sa electric-fan. Isang TV, para makapanood sila ng balita at radyo para maka-rinig naman sila ng balita sa umaga. Other than that, wala nang iba,” Soriano said.
He also explained a photograph taken of Marcaida inside the detention facility, saying one of Marcaida’s visitor may have taken the picture during a visit.
“Mahigpit naming pinagbabawal na makapasok ang kahit anong kontrabando sa loob. Lahat ng bisita ay dumadaan sa thorough search,” Soriano said.
Soriano however admitted that they are intentionally separating Marcaida’s schedule from other regular inmates for his own security. He explained that they want to ensure Marcaida is separated from inmates who may hold a grudge against Marcaida.
“Ibinubukod natin si inmate Marcaida sa kanyang mga activity also to protect him. Ayon kasi sa validation ng aming intelligence officer dito sa city jail, may mga inmates kami dito na maaring naging parte ng kanilang trabaho sa panghuhuli sa droga,” Soriano said.
“Mga napakulong nila dito. So medyo maku-kompromiso ang seguridad ng ating isang residente,” he added.
The prison facility holds a total of 362 drug-related inmates.
According to the BJMP comprehensive guidelines, Marcaida is considered as a high profile inmate since he is a prominent government official and that high profile inmates like him need a higher security level based on intensive media coverage and public concern, reason why the management of the penitentiary separated his cell from other regular inmates according to Soriano.
Marcaida is placed in the same cell with former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes. Their cell has a 6×6 dimension, lit with light bulbs, concrete made, with own bathroom, groceries, plastic chairs, a 32 inch flat-screen TV, two stand-fans and a radio.
Regular cells inside the penitentiary are congested. One 6×6 cell was occupied with more or less 10-15 male inmates. An 18×6 cell along the side of the entrance holds around 50 regular female detainees and has double-deck beds, pillows, blankets and bed sheets. Some sleep on the floor using boxes as mats.
Soriano said the city jail has a capacity to accommodate only 220 inmates but they have a population of 780 detainees, 76 of which are female and 643 are males.
“On 2013, well informed na ang alkalde natin sa sitwasyon ng city jail. Nandoon na ang congestion na dapat ideally kasi 220 inmates lang ang kaya. Ngayon 780 inmates na,” Soriano said.