By Aaron Recuenco
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to use its lobbying power in improving the condition of inmates in crowded police detention facilities especially in Metro Manila.
Albayalde admitted the PNP’s limitation to improve detention facilities because even its budget is not enough to buy guns, vehicles, communication equipment, and other expenses.
In most cases, he said the PNP does not have the budget even for the repair of dilapidated facilities of some police stations in various parts of the country.
“The human rights can lobby the way we lobby at the national level to improve and increase the number of detention cells because as a former chief of the Metro Manila police, the police detention facilities are indeed very crowded,” said Albayalde.
According to him, this is the reason why diseases easily spread among inmates or may even result to the death of some detainees.
“Maybe they could also help us lobby to convince local chief executives to improve detention cells and police stations,” said Albayalde.
He cited the local government of Muntinlupa City as an example wherein it pushed for the construction of some P80 million worth of police station including the improvement of police detention facilities.
Crowded jails are considered as a perennial problem for the police stations especially in urban areas. In most cases, inmates would implement a shift just to sleep.
The number of the inmates further increased after the aggressive campaign on illegal drugs in the past two years.
Albayalde said they could not be faulted on crowded jails since those whom they would arrest are supposed to be immediately committed to city jails and other detention facility and not stay long at the police detention cells.
In addressing the issue, Albayalde said some agencies should also do their share in addressing the problem instead of just engaging on finger-pointing.
“It should be a whole government approach. The CHR should not just point at the PNP because we can spend only three percent of our budget on infrastructure,” said Albayalde.
“If we would allocate funds for infrastructure, we would of course prioritize our police station than detention cells. This is the part where the local government units could help a lot,” he added.