WATCH | Bato on Manila police’s secret cell: Unauthorized and legally questionable, but so what?

May 2, 2017 - 6:09 PM
This May 2017 photo shows the hidden cell in Tondo jail. (Bernard Testa, InterAksyon)

MANILA – Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has come to the defense of the policemen in charge of the Manila police station where the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) discovered a secret cell crammed with a dozen detainees on Thursday (April 27), although he admitted that his men were unauthorized and legally accountable for the act.

The CHR had conducted a surprise inspection of Manila Police Station 1 in Tondo last week, where they found the secret cell hidden behind a cabinet. Police Superintendent Robert Domingo, who had been in charge, had explained that the detainees had been arrested the day before, and were all drug suspects.

One of them claimed he had been kept for a week without charges being filed against him. He added that the police had pulled a plastic bag over his head, electrocuted him, kicked him, and beat him up.

But Dela Rosa said upon talking to one of the detainees in a visit on Friday, he was told that they had lied to the CHR thinking that the latter would help them get out of jail.

The police had also been accused of demanding money in exchange for the prisoners’ freedom, which Domingo had denied. He had added that the cell was just a “temporary staging area” while the suspects were being processed for inquest, since the regular detention area had been filled to double its capacity.

National Capital Region Police Office director Oscar Albayalde had ordered Domingo and 12 members of the drug enforcement unit relieved while investigation was ongoing.

Click and watch the video report of News5’s Jeff Caparas below: