Department of Justice (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has tasked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to take a closer look into deaths of persons deprived of liberty at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Murder complaints have been filed by the NBI’s Death Investigation Division against 22 officers from the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) in connection with deaths at the national penitentiary, including high-profile inmates whom authorities said contracted Covid-19.

Lawyer Mico Clavano told reporters via text message that DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla met with Deputy Director Medardo de Lemos, NBI Officer-in-Charge, on Monday.

“The issue was discussed and SOJ (Secretary of Justice) wanted to validate the facts already presented and would like to inquire more into the incident,” Clavano said.

He added that Remulla expressed his “stern desire to hold all those involved accountable”.

In a department order dated July 1, de Lemos was appointed to temporarily head the NBI, as he is the next in rank and the most senior official, following the issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 1 by Malacañang declaring vacant certain positions.

De Lemos, who replaced Eric Distor, was tasked to perform and discharge duties until July 31 or until a replacement has been appointed. (PNA)