Press Release
November 27, 2016


While the Constitution mandates that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, Senator Richard J. Gordon pointed out that it is ludicrous to serve search warrants to people who are already incarcerated.

Gordon said a search warrant is only applicable for those who have the right to protect their property from unreasonable searches or seizures but there is no need for a warrant to search the premises of a prison cell which is under government control.

He issued the statement in connection with the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, who was killed along with inmate Raul Yap inside their jail cells in the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail while operatives of the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Region 8 were allegedly serving a search warrant.

"I don't see any need for the CIDG team to apply for a search warrant because the subject of the search was already in jail. Search warrants are required under the law to protect an individual against unreasonable searches and seizures and his right to privacy," the senator stressed.

"While there is no law prohibiting the issuance of the search warrant against a detained person, it is also not normal since regular inspections are conducted inside jail cells anyway. It is standard operating procedures for jail wardens or personnel to inspect and closely scrutinize all items brought inside the jail. Search operations are conducted either regularly or randomly to ensure that no prohibited items, i.e. drugs, gun, pointed weapons, metal spoons and forks or pointed toothbrushes etc, are smuggled inside the jail. And these are all done without search warrants," he added.

Gordon likewise expressed alarm that it may have become a modus operandi for some unscrupulous members of the PNP to serve search warrants inside prison facilities to lend a legitimate color to their nefarious operations.

He cited two other previous instances where inmates have been killed while a team of PNP operatives were serving search warrants inside the jail. Killed in the said operations were inmates Francisco Balagbis and Edgar Allen Alvarez.

A week before the Espinosa killing, Balagbis, an inmate of the Baybay City Jail of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-8, was killed during a raid conducted on October 28, 2016 by operatives of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force of the Police Regional Office-8.

On the other hand, Alvarez, who was incarcerated for kidnap for ransom affiliated with Hanz Tan, was killed when police operatives raided the Leyte Regional Penitentiary in Abuyog, Leyte on August 11, 2016. He was shot to death while allegedly attempting to fight the raiding team from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Group, Regional Public Safety Battalion, and the Regional Maritime Unit.

"The two were killed during similar type operations as that which led to the killing of Mayor Espinosa," Gordon noted.

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