BuCor cooperates with CHR probers looking into strip search policy

By Benjamin Pulta

May 14, 2024, 3:08 pm

MANILA – The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is fully cooperating with Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigators looking into complaints filed by inmates' visitors over the conduct of cavity searches in prison facilities.

In a statement on Tuesday, the BuCor said prison officials presented a briefing and simulation of the strip cavity search to the CHR investigators to give them an idea on how visitations are conducted inside the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) to maintain peace and order.

The CHR investigation team is composed of lawyer Rommel Tinga, Special Investigator (SI) III Michele Tuliao, SI III Mays Sylvette Rojas, and SI II Ma. Milanie Arao, who were implementing a Mission Order signed by lawyer Jasmin Navarro Regino, Director IV of the Human Rights Protection Cluster.

They were also showed the NBP Maximum Camp, including the conjugal facilities and the park for inmates’ visitors and their children, the BuCor said.

Prison officials have also subpoenaed the concerned lady searchers to submit their sworn statements.

Bucor director general Gregorio Catapang Jr. earlier said the strip search was being implemented on all visitors, “without exception,” in prison facilities as a measure against the proliferation and entry of contraband into the general inmate population, presumably coursed through visitors.

Catapang, in a letter to the Focal Commissioner for Prevention on Human Rights, lawyer Faydah Maniri Dumarpa, assured that BuCor is one with the CHR’s cause of upholding human rights.

However, the BuCor chief said the same inspection protocol for visitors has been in place since the NBP was still under the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (BJMP), and it is only now that a complaint was filed by two wives of political prisoners.

“Just like everybody else, we want to ferret out the truth,” he said. (PNA)