Inmates stage noise barrages over abuses

Pandemonium broke loose inside the prison cells of the Surigao del Norte Provincial Jail last Monday, after more than a hundred inmates held noise barrages to dramatize their grievances against BJMP personnel manning the detention facility.

The detainees even threatened to continue the chaos the moment they would be brutally abused by some jail guards as a result of their unruly action.

This was the message conveyed by inmates to members of the media who responded and checked the jail's condition on Monday morning, the same day the noise barrages were made.
According to detainee Rodulfo Cortes, who spoke on behalf of the 121 offenders, alleged that his fellow inmate was mauled and berated by a jail guard on Sunday, July 18, 2010.

He also disclosed to media what they claimed as harassments and threats committed by some jail officers which triggered the inmates to stage noise barrages inside the cells.

Cortes said his fellow inmate, a certain Magaluna, was allegedly slapped, kicked and punished by Jail Officer 2 Arnulfo Nicolas on Sunday just after he turned down the request of Magaluna to allow his children and wife to stay with him inside the jail for a short moment.

He revealed that some jail guards even cocked their guns and pointed the same to them in an apparent threat to their lives.

Cortes added that some visitors of the detainees were subjected to unpleasant remarks and insults by some indifferent jail personnel.

He said inmates did not like the policies being implemented by some BJMP personnel as compared to the policies being imposed during the period wherein the provincial jail was under the control of provincial government.

Cortes commented on the short visiting time of one hour granted to their visitors by BJMP personnel. Once the one hour was already consumed, visitors were then sent out of the vicinity of the provincial jail, he observed.

He also condemned the alleged inhuman treatment of some BJMP personnel of ignoring the plight of sickly inmates who needed immediate medical treatments in the hospitals.

“Dad-on ra an priso kon talimatay na,” Cortes divulged.

The inmates' spokesperson likewise made public their dislike of the kind of rice they were served with because it was allegedly smelly and of NFA variety.

“Commercial an sako pero an suyod inig kaon bahay man diay - NFA na baho kaayo kan-on,” he protested.

Cortes, who was charged with illegal possession of firearms, said his fellow inmates had no complain on the kind of viands being alternately served to them which was a piece dried fish (known as "hawol-hawol") in the morning and one squid ("nokos bulingit") for supper.

The impatient detainees said they would only stop their "noise protest" if they could talk to the provincial governor personally.

Meanwhile, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Senior Inspector Nelson Sumando, when reached for comment, revealed he already made a relief order for JO2 Arnulfo Nicolas.

He said Nicolas committed a violation against of BJMP rules for allegedly inflicting physical injuries to an inmate.

The jail warden also dismissed the inmates’ allegations saying most of it were exaggerated.
“Kon ang bugas nga ilang gireklamo, dili man ni NFA. In fact, kung unsay ilang kaonon mao sad ang ako,” Sumando clarified.

He said that policies being implemented by them were totally different from the policies being practiced and exercised when the provincial jail was still under the control of the provincial government.

“Kining oras sa 'dalaw', under new memorandum from the BJMP hierarchy, dako na gani ang usa ka oras. Under my supervision, lenient ra gani ko,” Sumando explained.

He told mediamen that the reason behind the noise barrages staged by detainees was because some of them protested the proposed revamp or election of a new set of officers in each of the four detention cells.

The BMJP was supposed to conduct an election in the four cells but held the same in abeyance when the noise barrage broke out.

The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer noticed that on the day the inmates staged their noise barrages, the jail's power and water supplies were cut off.

The tension was put off temporarily on the same day after Provincial Administrator Romeo Cal and DSWD provincial chief Rose Catelo were able to calm down the jailbirds by assuring them that their grievances will be brought to the attention of the governor.

Cal told The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer the said inmates had repeated their noise barrage in the afternoon when Governor Sol Matugas was not able to see them on that day due to a series of activities she had attended. (Roel N. Catoto, The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer)

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