MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima is urging Senator Richard Gordon to prioritize her requested probe on the problem of congestion in the country’s jails and penitentiaries, citing “extreme overcrowding” which has led to severe problems in jail management.
Last Tuesday, De Lima sent Gordon, who chairs the senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, a letter requesting him to give prioritize her senate resolution filed last August 15, seeking an inquiry into the current state of jails and penitentiaries all over the country.
De Lima said she hopes that the committee would give the matter its “utmost attention and priority” since inmates in jails are under "unspeakable, uncivilized, and inhumane condition."
"This extreme overcrowding of prisoners in jails breeds a number of severe problems in jail management, including illness and poor hygiene among inmates, substandard sleeping accommodation, lack of food provision, among others," De Lima said.
"There is likewise a steady source of tension and hostility among prisoners who are cramped into congested cell areas. Most gang wars erupt despite the presence of jail guards who often lack professional trainings," she added.
De Lima said although prisoners have broken the law, they are still human beings “who deserve to enjoy the basic rights to live decently and with dignity.”
Philippines ranked 12th in the world in early 2016 in terms of prison population with over 142,168 inmates, based on the World Prison Brief of the London-based International Centre for Prison Studies.
"Such appalling image depicts the deplorable state of jail and penitentiaries where prisoners suffer more severe penalty of horrific and barbaric living condition than the actual penalty that is supposed to be meted out for crimes they have committed," she said.