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Davide to attend CPDRC stripping probe

CEBU, Philippines - Governor Hilario Davide III will attend the inquiry of the House Committee on Justice into the police operation at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) that left male inmates naked.

"I will be there and I will tell the truth," Davide said yesterday, as he confirmed receiving the committee’s invitation.

The inquiry is scheduled on May 23.

During the controversial operation last February 28, the male inmates were made to strip down and were herded together with female inmates at the jail’s quadrangle.

The female inmates were made to stay in one corner.

Davide, himself a lawyer, said he will not bring any other lawyer.

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It was former governor and now Third District Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia who initiated the opening of the inquiry during a privilege speech in March.

Garcia said she was constrained to file a resolution because, quoting Amnesty International, the way the inmates were treated was "cruel, inhuman and degrading”.

"Andam ko nga moatubang aning iyang gipatawag nga inquiry. Uhaw ra ni si Garcia sa grandstanding. I know she intends to humiliate and demean me there, but I will use the platform to advance the interest of the Cebuanos," Davide said.

Davide said he will disclose in Congress the alleged corruption at CPDRC when Garcia was still governor.

He reiterated that PDEA-7 has already made a statement through the regional director that the decision to have the male inmates stripped down was necessary to protect the safety of both jailers and the prisoners.

The inmates reportedly understood that the order to strip was standard operating procedure, especially in operations in penitentiaries.

Davide said he did not order the same.

The inmates had said that stripping naked was not an issue to them, except for the fact that they stripped naked in front of women.

“Okay raman to nga greyhound nga gipahubo mi. Depensa ang PDEA-7 (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) sad kay pulos gud na criminal diha sulod. Ang amo lang, nganong gitipon ang mga babaye?” said Lito Granada, the newly appointed prison mayor at CPDRC.

Authorities recovered 76 cellular phones, including those of a suspected drug personality; 19 medium sachets of shabu worth at least P30,000; cash amounting P92,000; a laptop and media players; lighters; and drug paraphernalia during the raid.

Aside from Davide, PDEA-7 regional director Yogi Ruiz and other officials from the Philippine National Police-7 will also attend the inquiry.

Garcia said that during her term as governor, the CPDRC was hailed the world over through its Dancing Inmates' "Thriller" bringing international recognition contrary to Davide's term wherein CPDRC is now in a sorry state. (FREEMAN)

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