PNP preparing detention cell for lawmakers in 'pork' scam

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 15 2014 09:42 AM | Updated as of May 15 2014 05:42 PM

MANILA - Detainees are likely to be booted out from the detention facility of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to make room for three senators facing plunder charges for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

Although the Sandiganbayan has yet to issue the arrest order for Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and several others implicated in the multibillion-peso scam, the PNP has started preparing the detention cell for the lawmakers.

A reliable source said the Headquarter Support Service (HSS), which supervises the PNP’s Custodial Center, is now analyzing the status of detainees to check who could be transferred to other jail facilities.

The source also said that PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, on the recommendation of the PNP Legal Service, has given the go signal to account for the inmates in the Custodial Center.

“Detainees who have been there for so long are likely to be the first to be transferred,” the source said.

Police officials said the Custodial Center was designed to house a maximum of 60 persons.

At present, 72 detainees are locked up in the Custodial Center, including former PNP chief Avelino Razon and retired generals Geary Barias, Eliseo dela Paz, Reynaldo Varilla and Charlemagne Alejandrino; rebel couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, alleged suspected drug lord Jackson Dy; and several accused in the Maguindanao massacre.

The case against Razon’s group stemmed from the alleged multimillion-peso V-150 repair scam, while the Tiamzons are facing murder charges.

In the accounting process, the PNP Legal Service is preparing to request the court to order the transfer of the detainees to make room for the senators.

Officials of the Custodial Center justified the possible transfer of some detains, saying the center is a temporary detention facility.

Earlier, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Benjamin Magalong said they have already prepared for a contingency plan for the arrest of all those charged with plunder in the event the anti-graft court orders their arrest. – With Mike Frialde, Evelyn Macairan