MANILA, Philippines - Folded cartons on the floor for bedding in a crowded cell, a daily meal allowance of P50 and a uniform of yellow t-shirt and brown pants await lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes once she is committed to the Quezon City Jail Female Dormitory.
Reyes can take daily baths in a communal facility but she will have to wait for her turn, with inmates heading for court hearings getting priority.
The Quezon City Jail does not want to take in Reyes, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s former chief of staff. But critics are asking why Reyes, who is neither an elected official nor a state witness, should get special detention facilities. She is accused of directly receiving money skimmed from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In a letter to the Sandiganbayan, Chief Inspector Elena Rocamora, warden of the Female Dormitory located inside the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) headquarters at Camp Karingal, said the facility is more than full.
Lawyer Dennis Pulma, branch clerk of court of the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division, said the women’s jail is 800 percent congested.
The Female Dormitory currently has a total of 504 inmates living in a space built only to house 56 persons.
“The jail warden of the Quezon City Female Dormitory of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said it is not advisable (for Reyes to be committed there),” he told The STAR yesterday.
When Reyes learned that she will be committed to the Quezon City Jail, she wept unabashedly, apparently thinking of how life inside the facility would be.
Like in men’s facilities, there are also fights within the Female Dormitory although mostly involving minor issues.
Rocamora earlier said that Reyes, who surrendered last Friday after the anti-graft court issued a warrant for her arrest, is a high-risk detainee that they cannot accommodate.
With all the information coming from the BJMP, Pulma said the Sandiganbayan Third Division headed by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang with Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quirox as members will now have to decide on where to commit the accused.
Pulma said no request from Reyes or her lawyers have so far been received as to where she prefers or requests to be detained.
“Let’s wait for the next action of the court,” Pulma said, noting that the matter will be placed in the Third Division’s agenda today.
In good health
Meanwhile, Reyes, who is being held at the basement jail facility of the Sandiganbayan while awaiting the commitment order for her transfer to another detention facility, is “medically okay” according to doctors of the anti-graft court.
She had pinakbet and fried galunggong for lunch yesterday.
Security and Sheriffs Services Division chief Albert de la Cruz said visitors are allowed to bring her food but as far as the daily menu is concerned, their lone detainee is given nothing else than what is available.
Reyes is allowed to receive visitors from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily.