Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday, Oct. 19, he has ordered an investigation over allegations that the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) committed violations in escorting political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino to the wake and burial of her dead baby River.
“Pinatitingnan ko rin kung meron silang violations diyan sa behavior nila para we will also apply appropriate sanctions (I have ordered a look into their behavior so we can apply the appropriate sanctions),” he said during an interview over CNN Philippines.
“I already instructed the chief BJMP Director Allan Iral to look into the matter and to see if there (were) lapses committed by the BJMP officers,” added Año.
On the other hand, Año expressed support to the personal statement made by Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago who said that the alleged cruelty committed against Nasino during her visit to the wake and burial should not be sensationalized anymore considering that not all persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) are granted furlough.
“Tama yun. Hindi lahat pinapayagan (She’s right. Not all PDLs are granted furlough),” Ano said.
“So that’s one big privilege talaga sa PDL, hindi lahat napagbibigyan ng ganyan (Furlough is one big privilege to PDL, not all PDLs are granted that),” he pointed out.
The secretary explained that being a PDL “hanggang hindi natatapos ang kaso mo deprived of liberty ka kasama na ang ibang karapatan mo diyan sapagkat nahaharap ka sa kaso (until all you cases are done, you are deprived of liberty as well as you other rights because you are facing charges).
He said that Nasino has been ordered detained by a Manila court due to non-bailable charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms.
With this, Año believes that BJMP officers and personnel who escorted Nasino to wake and burial of her baby were just doing their job.
“Just the same we regret what happened but I will stand by my people, the BJMP. They are professional people. They don’t have personal or vested interests. They are just doing their job professionally,” he stated.
He reminded that the BJMP was only ensuring that the court’s order was being followed, which included not allowing the PDL to escape, that she will not be harmed, and she is safely returned to detention.
Año defended the decision of the BJMP to keep Nasino surrounded with security personnel and keep her handcuffed during the wake and burial.
“Yan talaga kasi yung standard (That’s the standard),” he stressed.
If Nasino had managed to escape because the security detail assigned to her did not follow regulations, Año said these BJMP officers would face sanctions.
“It was supposed to be a solemn occasion and you know we also sympathize and condole with the family of Nasino. Pero hindi siya naging solemn kasi dinumog ng tao, dinumog ng media (But it did not become solemn because of the crowds and media),” lamented Año who noted that the BJMP officers were outnumbered by the number of people at the wake and burial.
Año observed that the BJMP officers “assigned to escort Nasino were insulted, harassed and verbally abused by these leftist groups aligned with Ms. Nasino.”
The secretary explained that BJMP officers were also doing their job in preventing Nasino from being interviewed by the media since this is part of the regulations.
“Yung interview hindi siya pwede sa mga PDL (PDL interviews are not allowed). It’s a big, big violation of the regulations,” he stressed.