No bunkhouse-type cells for pork scam accused

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2014 04:02 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2014 04:33 PM

MANILA -- Memes and social commentaries comparing the detention cells of those accused in the pork scam with the bunkhouses built for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda have hit the Internet.

Malacanang itself even posed a question to critics: “Should we be putting the accused in bunkhouses similar to those being used by Yolanda victims?”

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. admitted that Malacanang would likely be criticized if non-allies involved in the pork scam would be detained in bunkhouse-type detention cells.

“Ang paggamit ng pasilidad sa detensyon ay naayon sa batas bilang pagkilala sa prinsipyo ng makataong pagturing sa mga nasasakdal. Dapat bang dalhin at ipiit sila katulad ng mga bunkhouses at temporary shelters na ginagamit ng mga pamilyang naapektuhan ng ‘Yolanda’ at iba pang kalamidad? At kung gagawin naman ito ng pamahalaan, hindi kaya mamayagpag ang tuligsa na pinahihirapan ang mga ‘di kaalyado sa pulitika?”he asked.

Tindog People’s Network spokesman Mark Louie Aquino earlier noted that the “clear and wide gap of discrepancies between the pork detention cells and the bunkhouses for Yolanda victims and survivors only shows who really the Aquino government is serving.”

The detention cells are at 32 square meters, almost twice the size of the rooms in bunkhouses, which measure 17.28 sq. meters.

The Philippine National Police earlier showed the refurbished four-room structure within Camp Crame, which was to be used for detaining the accused in the pork barrel scam.

It was in this Custodial Center where Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. was brought on Friday. The PNP denied that the improvements there were specifically meant for the pork scam accused.

Coloma said such types of facilities prove that the government respects the rights of the accused.

“Ang sitwasyong ito ay nagpapakita lamang ng kahalagahan ng layuning magtatag ng isang lipunan na kung saan magiging tunay na pantay-pantay ang trato sa lahat ng mga mamamayan habang iginagalang ang kanilang mga karapatang pantao,” he said.

Bong complains

A few days into his detention, Revilla, a movie star-turned-senator, complained of migraine due to the extreme heat in his cell.

His wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, asked the PNP if they could bring an air cooler for him.

Asked for comment, Coloma said: “Yan pong mga partikular na bagay na ‘yan ay nasa kapangyarihan ng hukuman para pagpasyahan. Kaya mainam po na idulog na lang sa hukuman at hintayin po natin ang pasya ng Sandiganbayan hinggil diyan.”