Duterte must have meant Russian drug suspects should not be in overcrowded jails —Aguirre

Nov 17, 2017 | Drug Suspects, Duterte, GMA, News, Russia

When he promised a “comfortable house” for the two Russian nationals facing drug smuggling raps in the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte must have meant that they should not be detained in overcrowded jails, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday.

“Well, actually ‘di naman special treatment yun. Dapat nga ganun lahat ng prisoners,” Aguirre told reporters in a phone interview.

“Actually, palagay ko ang ibig sabihin niya sabihin doon, wag ‘yung katulad d’on sa mga city jails na 100 percent, minsan 200 percent pa, na overcrowded,” he said. “So ‘yun di comfortable yun.”

An example of a “comfortable” prison cell would be one with a capacity of 50 people, he said.

Still, he said he would like to coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government “kung ano yung comfortable house na mabibigay namin.”

He said the male Russian suspect is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, while his female co-accused is at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Pasay City.

Many Philippine penitentiaries suffer from overcrowding, among them the “decaying” Quezon City Jail, which was built for 800 detainees but currently houses 3,800.

Asked what would happen if other foreign governments demanded a similar treatment to their citizens detained in the Philippines, Aguirre said it is possible, but that it could not be called “special treatment.”

“Ang masasabi lang natin talaga detention cell nila, detention place should be hindi naman overcrowded, talagang pag sa ating mga city jails, may toka sila [kung] kailan sila matutulog. Hindi naman siguro ganun,” he said.

Duterte has said he told Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in a bilateral meeting that a certain Yuri Kirdyushkin and a certain Anastasia Novopashina will “get a fair trial and that they will be detained in a comfortable house,” as he assured Russia that the country has a “working functional justice system.”

His statement yet again earned criticism from the Commission on Human Rights, whose spokesperson reportedly said no prisoner should be given special treatment.

In response, Malacañang said Senator Leila De Lima, who is incarcerated at Camp Crame over drug-related charges while her co-accused Ronnie Dayan is at a city jail, should be transferred to an ordinary prison.

“Hindi naman niya sinabi na magkakaroon sila ng special treatment. Ang pangako ni presidente ay they would be given a fair trial. Wala special treatment diyan, especially with respect to the case,” Aguirre also said. — MDM, GMA News

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