- A Catholic priest who ministers to the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) said that many of the prisoners have complained about the cruelty displayed by the Special Action Force (SAF) members toward them
- According to the complaints of the prisoners, many of them were physically abused for breaking simple prison rules
- The head of the SAF battalion assigned at the NBP said that they strictly enforce the rules of the prison but they treat the prisoners with courtesy and respect
A Catholic priest who ministers to New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates has reported cruelties displayed by the Special Action Force (SAF) members who took over the prison as its guards on Wednesday.
NBP chaplain Msgr. Roberto Olaguer spoke about inmates who have suffered violent acts in the hands of the SAF members.
According to Olaguer, one SAF officer allegedly punched an inmate on the stomach for failing to wear his NBP uniform. Another inmate was also punched for saying “good morning” to an officer of SAF. A Muslim inmate also suffered cruelty when his beard was pulled by another SAF member.
“These are just things that have been shared with me; I did not see these incidents for myself, so I still have to verify if they are true,” Olaguer said on Saturday.
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Another reported incident involved SAF members who roused the inmates from sleep at around 3 a.m. to check if they were wearing their prison uniforms inside their cells. However, many of the prisoners do not wear shirts at night due to the extreme heat in the Bilibid.
According to the priest, the visiting schedules for the prisoners have also been disrupted by the SAF. Families of inmates were unable to enter despite the promise of NBP Supt. Roberto Rabo that they have a 30-minute pass. The priest himself was almost barred from entering the NBP because he was not wearing an ID.
But according to the head of the SAF battalion assigned at NBP, Chief Supt. Benjamin Lusa, none of the allegations are true.
“We don’t do that. We are professional police officers,” Lusa said.
The head of the SAF battalion explained that they are mandated to enforce the rules of the NBP but to treat all inmates with courtesy and respect. - Kami Media