Parañaque jail blast staged to kill drug-linked inmates?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2016 03:00 PM

MANILA - An explosion at the Parañaque City jail last week was staged to summarily execute high-profile inmates, the wife of a slain prisoner claimed Tuesday.

"Maria", who was widowed in Thursday's blast, said her husband had expressed fear over an alleged plot to kill inmates with drug-related cases.

"Two weeks bago nangyari iyan, ang sabi niya sa akin, 'Ma, delikado na dito,'" Maria told radio DZMM. "Ang sinasabi niya sa akin, delikado kasi magkakapatayan, nagkakaplanuhan na may mangyayaring patayan."

(Two weeks before the blast, he told me, 'Ma, it's already dangerous here... He said there are plans for a staged killing.)

The explosion on Thursday left 10 inmates dead. Eight fatalities, including two Chinese nationals, were facing drug charges. The other two were charged with illegal possession of firearms and robbery with homicide.

The blast happened after detainees asked for an 8 p.m. audience with jail warden Superintendent Gerald Bantag regarding the transfer of detention cells.

The Parañaque police said the inmates sought the meeting as a prelude to hold Bantag hostage in their jailbreak attempt.

Jailbreak, kidnap attempts eyed in Parañaque jail blast

The warden reportedly shot it out with prisoners who had guns, knives, and grenades. An explosive was thrown amid the chaos.

10 inmates died at the Paranaque city jail after a riot erupted on Aug 12, 2016. Vincent Go, ABS-CBN News

Maria, however, is not convinced that the detainees initiated the meeting with Bantag.

"Hindi po ako naniniwala sa sinabi nila na iyung mga inmate ang gustong kumausap kay warden. Ipinatawag po sila sa baba, hindi po sila ang unang bumaba," she said.

(I don't believe that the inmates were the ones who wanted to talk with the warden. They were summoned, they did no go down because they wanted to.)

"Ang mga inmates po, hanggang hindi sila pinapatawag ng warden, hindi po sila basta-basta makakababa. Sa higpit po ng mga empleyado roon ng BJMP, hindi po nila basta-basta pinapalabas sa selda ang mga inmate."

(Inmates cannot go down to the warden's office unless they were ordered to. BJMP employees are very strict and wound not simply let prisoners out of their cells.)

The widow also cast doubts on reports that high-powered firearms were recovered from the prisoners. She said visitors cannot smuggle contraband items inside the detention facility because of thorough inspection conducted by jail guards.

"Ultimo po napkin, kahit may dugo binubulatlat po nila iyan e. Talagang tinitingnan nilang maigi. Kulang na nga lang po basagin nila iyung mga itlog para masiguradong walang maipasok. Kinakapkapan po kami sa katawan pati sa maseselang parte," she said.

(Jail guards inspect even the bloodied sanitary napkins of female guests. If they could break open eggs to make sure there are no contraband items inside, they would. They frisk even our private parts.)

Maria is appealing to the families of other slain prisoners to band together and demand justice for their loved ones.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) earlier brushed aside speculations that the blast was staged to kill the inmates in line with President Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.

The BJMP is looking instead into the possible negligence of security personnel for failing to frisk the prisoners when they left their cells and leaving them alone with the warden.