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Probe sought on alleged sexual harassment vs. women prisoners
In The Press Posted on August 30th, 2011.
Source:The Manila Times online
A CONGRESSIONAL inquiry into the alleged sexual harassment of women detainees and their visitors by the jail guards at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City has been sought in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela Party-list made the call during the recent House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the P96 billion proposed budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for 2012. De Jesus cited that their office has been receiving reports that women inmates at the Philippine National Police Headquarters Custodial Center in Camp Bagong Diwa are being taken out of their cells at night and forced to sit with jail officers during their drinking sprees.
De Jesus then tasked Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Director Rosendo Dial to look into the complaints of the women detainees and investigate the jail guards involved in such lewd acts.
“This runs counter to the requisite provided by Republic Act 9263 that BJMP personnel must be of good moral character and sound mind,” de Jesus pointed out. “The reported cases of sexual harassment against women inmates inside the police detention cells are very alarming and Congress has the duty to investigate it,” de Jesus added.
Likewise, de Jesus expressed concern over the equally harassing procedures like the strip-searching of women jail visitors at Camp Bagong Diwa. The BJMP, de Jesus said, should look into the cultural implications of the procedure considering that the said frisking is also being imposed on Muslim women.
“We all know that Muslim women’s clothes are a body covering as part of their culture. There is a dehumanizing element in this procedure even if the officer conducting the body search is also a woman,” the Gabriela lawmaker argued.
De Jesus said the Gabriela party-list group and other groups concerned will organize fact-finding missions to monitor the situation of women inmates and ensure that their rights and welfare are being upheld.