MANILA - The Bureau of Corrections on Monday labeled as "fake news" reports that high-profile inmate Raymond Dominguez had died, saying he was never taken to the hospital.
The bureau earlier said Dominguez was still alive but tested positive for the coronavirus amid reports that he had succumbed to the disease.
"Nakakalungkot nga po dahil may lumabas na balitang ganoon at naghihintay po tayo ng paliwanag at pasensya sana pero hayaan mo na dahil nung lumabas ang balita ngayon sa isang malaking pahayagan pati maliliit na operations natin ay naabala," BuCor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(it's saddening to hear that a report like this was released and we're waiting for explanation and patience after it was published by a known media outfit, even our small operations were affected.)
"Marami pong naabala na processes dito dahil sa fake news na lumabas. Sa ganunpaman, pinabulaanan po natin na wala pong ganun na PDL (person deprived of liberty) na galing sa BuCor na namatay nung araw na yun."
(This fake news has disrupted so many processes at the bureau. Despite this, we deny that there was such a PDL from BuCor that died that day.)
A Manila Times report earlier quoted Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption president Arsenio “Boy” Evangelista saying Dominguez had died of COVID-19. He said the information came from a former justice secretary whom he did not identify.
Dominguez and his brother, Roger, were accused in the killings of used-car dealers Venson Evangelista and Emerson Lozano in 2011. Venson is the son of the VACC president.
Dominguez was convicted of carjacking back in 2012 and was sentenced between 17 and 30 years in prison.
In the interview, Chaclag said Dominguez is currently at the New Bilibid Prison's isolation facility.
The bureau made the clarification after it received backlash for initially refusing to name 9 high-profile inmates who died of the coronavirus, including Jaybee Sebastian who's a witness in detained Sen. Leila de Lima's cases.
It earlier denied claims that Sebastian had escaped and was still alive.
The bureau welcomes third party authorities in documenting its process on COVID-19 patients and deaths, Chaclag said.
"Malinaw po ang guidelines natin, pag may nagsuggest po na 3rd party welcome po sa atin 'yun at ready naman po tayo," he said.
BuCor is now require to immediately notify its parent agency, the Department of Justice, of inmates who contract the disease and die from it, said DOJ spokesperson Markk Perete.
"BuCor gave us assurances na meron silang complete record, meron silang fingerprint record, even photos of the high-profile inmates. Ito yung hinihingi ng DOJ to be turned over to the NBI na siya namang nagkoconduct ng impartial and 3rd party investigation in this matter," he added.
(BuCor gave us assurances that they have a complete record, fingerprint record, even photos of the high-profile inmates. The DOJ has asked for these to be turned over to the NBI which will conduct impartial and 3rd party investigation in this matter.)
As of posting, the bureau has recorded 260 inmates with COVID-19, including 230 recoveries and 21 deaths, according to Chaclag.
The Philippines in total so far tallied 80,448 cases of COVID-19, with 26,110 recoveries and 1,932 deaths.