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Special detention eyed for high-profile suspects

Even as the National Police’ Custodial Center is prepared to accept occupants accused of plunder and other heinous crimes, two  party-list lawmakers allied with the administration have proposed a measure to establish a separate detention facility.

“The Center inside Camp Crame is ready to accept such inmates in case the court orders the suspects to be taken into custody,” said National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Reuben Theodor Sindac.

The police clarified that they didn’t have a  particular person or people in mind when the center was renovated, Sindac said.

The Custodial center, originally designed to accommodate custodial officers, has been renovated to suit the standard for a detention facility, Sindac said. |It has a ceiling fan, double-deck metal bed with foams and lavatory, he added.

But Ako-Bicol party-list congressmen  Rodel Batocabe and Christopher Co have another plan. They sought a detention center that will  “resolve both concerns where the urgency of medical assistance may be addressed without having to resort to hospital arrests.”

History would show that nobody or even public officials who have  allegedly committed wrongdoings have been detained in a regular jail while their cases are being heard.  This, apart from the fact that they are “security risk”  Batocabe said.

“It is about time that we pass a law that provides a separate detention cell for high profile cases,” Batocabe told reporters in a press conference on Tuesday, referring to his party-list’s proposed House Bill 1360.

The congressmen proposed the establishment of a detention center wherein the following shall be allowed to be detained:  an accused in non-bailable offense except those under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; an incumbent or former public officials or appointees accused of non-bailable offenses or high profile case; an accused in high-profile cases as defined in the proposed measure.

The bill defines “high profile cases” as “cases which have been attracted attention and publicly by reason of the relative position of the parties in society, cases imbued with public interest, or cases which involved national security and safety.”

But the bill drew mixed reactions among House leaders.

While House Deputy Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Bolet Banal and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao supported Batocabe’s bill, Reps. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, Elpidio Barzaga, Jr., Silvestre Bello III of 1-BAP party-list, Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list – all lawyers; and Jonathan de la Cruz of Abakada party-list thumbed down the idea of separate detention facility for high profile prisoners.

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