Press Release
April 23, 2018

De Lima urges Senate to prioritize probe on jail congestion

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today pressed the Senate leadership to finally start its public hearings on her resolutions seeking to address the congestion and the poor living condition inside the jails and penitentiaries all over the country.

De Lima made the call following recent release of records from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showing that most regional police offices have congested detention facilities.

"It's about time for the appropriate Senate committee to address the issue concerning overcrowded detention cells and act on the resolutions I filed, including PSR Nos. 97 and 590," she said.

"Proper investigations in aid of legislation should push through to come up with a solution on how to decongest and improve the worsening state of detention facilities in the country," she added.

Based on reports, data as of March 31 from the PNP's Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) showed that 13 out of the 17 regional police offices have overcrowded detention facilities.

According to the data released, Calabarzon Police Regional Office (PRO-4A) has the highest congestion rate (45.35 percent), with 78 of its 172 custodial centers considered as overcrowded.

De Lima noted that her PSR No. 97 pushes for a Senate probe into the current state of jails and penitentiaries in the country while her PSR No. 590 seeks for an investigation into the continued failure of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to complete jail facility projects.

The former justice secretary said investigations are necessary to avoid other problems, including health issues, that can arise due to extreme overcrowding of prisoners in jails.

"There is an urgent need to address the issues on jail congestion to avoid several problems that can arise from it, such as illness and poor hygiene among inmates, substandard sleeping accommodation, lack of food provision, to name some. I keep saying also that jail congestion is the root cause of prison-based criminality," she noted.

Last April 11, an inmate held in the overcrowded detention facility of the Pasay City police's investigation section died, while six others reportedly collapsed from the heat in their cramped cells.

In September 2016, De Lima sent a formal communication to Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, requesting him to give priority to PSR No. 97 she filed a month prior, but to no avail.

News Latest News Feed