Saturday, February 11, 2012

DOJ prosecutors inspect Army detention facility

 ARMY DETENTION FACILITY. This official Army photo shows the entrance gate to the compound where two of BGen Jovito Palparan's co-accused, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and SSg Edgardo Osorio are currently detained. (Photo by SSg Cesar Cuenca)                                                                                            

FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – The Army opened its doors to the members of  a  team granted by the court to inspect its detention facility today (Feb 10), a military official said.
Major Harold Cabunoc, the Army Spokesperson, said that the inspecting team were welcomed by the military officers and a representative from the AFP headquarters led by BGen Herbert Yambing, at around 12:45pm.
"Judge Teodora B Gonzales of RTC Branch 14, Malolos, Bulacan along with the DOJ panel of prosecutors headed by Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Navera, Lawyers of private complainant headed by Atty Edre Olalia and Mrs Erlinda Cadapan were part of the inspecting team who were received by Army representatives at the Army Custodial Management Unit," said Cabunoc
Cabunoc said that there were no complaints or issues raised by the members of the inspection team.
"During the visit, Judge Gonzales asked the offficers of the custodial unit about the number of detainees, number of soldiers safeguarding the facility and how the detainees are being managed. She was satisfied with the answers given to her and also the results of the ocular inspection," he said.
Two of Gen Palparan's co-accused, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr. and SSg Edgardo Osorio, are being detained at CMU.
Anotado and Osorio are facing criminal cases of  kidnaping and serious illegal detention, along with Gen. Jovito Palparan (Ret.) related to the disappearance of University of the Philippines students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006.

Osorio was pinpointed by a 'witness' as among those who abducted the two UP students when he was tasked to secure Palparan in one of the court hearings in July 2011. Osorio was not a member of the 7th Infantry Division which Palparan commanded in 2006.
They were transferred at the CMU facility on December 23, 2011 by virtue of the Commitment Order issued by Gonzales,  based on the provisions of the Executive Order 106 dated August 24, 1937.
Cabunoc said that there is no truth to rumors that the accused soldiers are given preferential treatment inside the detention facility.
“In the principle of transparency and accountability, we welcomed the inspection team to the Army Custodial Management Unit (CMU). We would like to inform the public that the Army has complied with all the requirements of a detention facility,” he said.
In the building which houses Anotado and Osorio, there were six rooms with a common toilet. It has windows for ventilation and ceiling fan to lessen the heat of the sunlight.
It is surrounded by a 6-foot high perimeter fence that is laid with concertina wires that could harm possible intruders or escapees. Soldiers man two watch-towers round the clock.
The facility can accommodate at least 35 detainees at a time. Only soldiers who are accused committing service-related offenses are taken into custody by the Commander, based on the provisions of the law (EO 146).  
International Committee of the Red Cross lauds the Army's CMU
In a report to the then AFP Chief of Staff, Gen Eduardo SL Oban, Mr Christoph Sutter, the ICRC representative who inspected the facility in April 2011, said that the Army detention facility meets the standards of his organization.

Sutter also said that the detainees were provided with adequate housing conditions (lodging, ventilation and water supply) and access to essential services (medical care).
Following the international rules, the Army detention facility allows the detainees to enjoy the sunlight or play basketball games in the courtyard right beside the building, from 5:00am to 10:00pm.   
"The detainees also had regular access to open air and were allowed to exercise in the courtyard. The inmates are able to receive extended family visits, which is essential to their well-being," the ICRC report said.

ANOTHER GATE leads to the building which houses the two soldiers who are accused in the disappearance of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno.  It has its own courtyard with a mini-basketball court where the detainees could play basketball games to ease their boredom. 

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