PNP yet to decide on legal aid for cops tagged in Bilibid inmmates' deaths

Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2022 09:00 PM

The New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File 
The New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has yet to decide on whether or not it would render legal assistance to several officers who were tagged in the deaths of 8 New Bilibid Prison inmates, an official said on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Corrections said the inmates died of COVID-19. But the National Bureau of Investigation found alleged irregularities in their medical and health records, and filed murder complaints against 22 Metro Manila police officers who were assigned to the BuCor at the time. 

“Inaantay lang namin yung formal report. Wala pa namang mga pangalan na nakarating sa amin,” PNP Director for Operations Maj. Gen. Valeriano De Leon said in an interview at Camp Crame. 

(We are still waiting for the formal report. We have not even learned their names yet.) 

Police officers are entitled to legal assistance in work-related complaints. For complaints that are not, they would have to hire their own lawyer, he noted. 

De Leon added that officers are placed in restrictive custody if there is strong evidence linking them to a case. 

The NBI filed murder complaints with the justice department against the 22 policemen, saying investigators believed the COVID-19 pandemic may have been used to cover up the questionable deaths of the Bilibid inmates. 

It noted that all high-profile inmates who allegedly died of COVID-19 were confined in the same isolation room. They were all supposedly declared dead on arrival at the hospital and immediately cremated. 

The BuCor "respects" all judicial processes, its spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag said of the NBI complaint. 


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