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No riot in NBP – police

A police investigation has concluded that no riot took place at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) on Sept. 28, the day convicted drug lord Tony Co was killed and four others, including Jaybee Sebastian, were wounded in separate stabbing incidents.

“No riot or tumultuous affray occurred,” Superintendent Francisco Ebreo told the congressional hearing yesterday.

“The incidents were triggered by separate causes and there was no showing that they acted together in a disruptive and tumultuous manner in carrying out a common purpose.”

Ebreo of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) led the fact-finding probe that looked into the violence.

During the same hearing, Ebreo presented an Oct. 8 affidavit signed by convict Tomas Doniña who admitted stabbing Sebastian with an ice pick in an attempt to stop him from testifying against Senator Leila de Lima.

In his affidavit, Doniña alleged that he was approached by a former colleague from the Navy asking him to kill and silence Sebastian. He did not reveal the identity of the Navy official.

Ebreo said the attacks took place inside the makeshift room of Tony Co and at the mess hall area where Sebastian, Vicente Sy, Peter Co and Clarence Dongail were wounded.

Based on evidence and the results of the drug tests conducted among inmates, illegal drugs still exist inside Building 14, according to Ebreo.

He said inmates Dongail, Edgar Sinco and Doniña may be held liable for the incident: Dongail for Co’s death and for the injuries of Peter Co and Vicente Sy; Sinco for the injuries sustained by Peter Co and Doniña for the injuries sustained by Sebastian.

Ebreo said no criminal cases have yet to be filed because they believe it should be the NBP Investigation Section who should file the case.

“Since the place is under the jurisdiction of NBP, their investigation section has the mandate to do the filing of cases. We recommended that they file the cases,” he said.

Deputy Speaker and Cadiz Rep. Fredenil Castro chided the PNP-CIDG for not filing necessary cases and for its failure to dig deeper into Doniña’s claim.

“I find it illogical, if not revolting that investigations are not finished and criminals go scot-free,” he said.

“Will it now be more reasonable and logical that the investigating agenccy files the necessary cases against assailants?” Castro asked.

Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin Magalong, who also attended the hearing, noted that the CIDG report failed to establish the motive of the Sept. 28 incident.

Magalong defended the police’s failure to file cases against the inmates involved in the Sept. 28 incident.

“Their mandate is purely fact-finding,” Magalong explained.

Among the recommendations made by the CIDG to avoid the repeat of the Sept. 28 incident are installation of additional CCTV cameras in all common areas and individual cells; segregation of inmates according to nationality, crimes committed, prison terms, notoriety and gang affiliation; regular joint Special Action Force (SAF)-BuCor security survey and inspection, counter-intelligence operations; and installation of metal detectors and deployment of K9 units in all entrances and visiting areas of the Maximum Security Compound. (CHARISSA M. LUCI)