10 CPDRC inmates died in less than two months
(The Freeman) - July 29, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least 10 inmates from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) have died of various ailments since last month.

Records of CPDRC showed that two inmates died last month and eight this month.

Wilfredo Ontong Jr, 39, and Margarito Baringke, 82, died on June 21 and June 28 respectively, while Leonides Barbero, 39; Marcelino Lagunda, 67; Wilfredo Talaugon, 56; Eulegio Pogado, 57; Joselito Pantaleon, 31; Allan Bastismo, 41; Andres Repono, 72; and Richard Ybañez, 34 died on June 2, 16, 18,19, 21, 22 and 22 respectively.

Based on their death certificates compiled by CPDRC, the inmates died of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as heart attack, cardio pulmonary arrest, septic and cardiogenic shock and other heart-related ailments as well as difficulty in breathing.

Three of the inmates had underlying cause of community acquired pneumonia and liver cirrhosis secondary to alcoholic liver disease that contributed to their immediate death.

The inmates were brought to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center where they eventually expired, except Ontong who died while sleeping in his cell.

According to Merryssa Baring, head nurse at CPDRC, Ontong suffered from a heart attack. Citing his medical history, Baring said the inmate had no major ailments aside from fever and cough in April 2014.

"Kalit ra man 'to siya. Pagpukaw sa iyang mga kauban, patay na," she said.

Ontong had stayed at CPDRC for three years along with his wife Eileen. Both are facing charges for violation of anti-child pornography act.

Baring said majority of the inmates at CPDRC are "physically fit" based on their medical certificates, except for Bastismo, for instance, who was diagnosed of liver cirrhosis prior to his imprisonment.

"Kasagaran pagsulod nila physically fit man. Ang uban basi nakalitan kay way trabaho labi na kadtong anad og trabaho sa probinsya. Mao bitaw na ato sila pasayawon diri," she said.

CPDRC Jail Warden Romeo Manansala dismissed public insinuations that these inmates were killed intentionally because of the crimes committed.

The inmates, he said, were imprisoned due to various cases, such as murder, attempted murder, rape, homicide, drug charges and violation of anti-child pornography.

"Ang uban nila naa na daan history na sakit. Didto na nangamatay sa VSMMC ug wa na namo gipatay," he clarified.

Baring said the overcrowded facility might have contributed to or triggered the inmates' ailments and affected their health.

The government-owned detention facility is packed with inmates almost twice its capacity.

As of yesterday, CPDRC housed 2, 973 detainees, way beyond its capacity of only 1,600 inmates. The facility has 119 cells and each cell with an area of 18 square meters is being occupied by 30 to 40 inmates, exceeding the standard 12 to 18 capacity.

"Overcrowded na g'yud ta," Manansala said.

With President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's war against criminalities, CPDRC is expecting another increase in jail population that would also compel the need to increase the daily food allowance and expansion of the jail areas.

The province earmarked at least P80 million last year for CPDRC. The biggest chunk of the budget went to food supply expenses at P52 million.

Warning shot fired

Meanwhile, the consultant on jail management in CPDRC fired a warning shot yesterday after four inmates were caught gambling.  Marco Toral said he used a blank cartridge as he fired a warning shot for those inmates who continue to disobey the policies inside the provincial jail.

"Gipabuthan nako para pasabot nako nga ma-warn sila ba, ug kung katong punishment nga ipatuman nilang Lito (inmates' mayor) sakit 'to, naa pa'y mas sakit ato kung mousab gihapon sila," Toral said.

Toral said they keep on reminding the inmates to refrain from gambling inside the jail facility but some are really hardheaded.

Because of the warning shot, Lito Granada, the inmates' mayor inside the provincial jail, said the inmates got scared and turned over sharp objects like knives, scissors, nippers and even spoons and forks and other pointed objects to jail authorities.

"Pag-ingon nako nga i-surrender 'tong mga talas, so naglihok to sila. So pag mo-surrender pa sila amo pa gihapon sila susihon didto aron simbako simbako naa na sad greyhound diri, wala na, limpyo na mi daan diri," he said.

Manhunt vs escapee

In another matter, the CPDRC has also directed Argao police to conduct manhunt operation against the inmate who escaped from the provincial jail last Monday.

Toral said he has given escapee Arnel Mait ultimatum to surrender but the inmate refused, even after giving P15,000 to his wife.

Toral said they waited until 4:30 p.m. last Wednesday for Mait to turn over himself, but the he did not show up, which prompted Toral to get back the P15,000 and contacted the police to recapture the inmate.

Dancing Barok

After he was transferred from isolation to a regular cell, high-profile drug personality Alvaro Alvaro alias Barok is now officially part of the famous Cebu dancing inmates of the CPDRC.

Alvaro joined fellow inmates in the dancing rehearsal yesterday at the quadrangle of the provincial jail and grooved to the popular dance craze Trumpets.

Toral said they let Alvaro join the dancing inmates as part of CPDRC's rehabilitation program. — Kristine B. Quintas and Le Phyllis F. Antojado (FREEMAN)

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