"x x x.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Tuesday reminded Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to observe the visitation rights of high-profile inmates recently transferred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) compound.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday IBP national president Vicente Joyas said the legal counsels of the inmates had recently sought the intervention of the IBP, saying that their visitation rights were being violated by the NBI since they were transferred there on December 15 last year.
The NBI is under the direct supervision of the DOJ.
“The said inmates had complained that their visitation rights, including those of their lawyers, had been denied them since Dec. 15,” Joyas said.
Joyas said that on Jan. 5, lawyers Paulo Laguatan and Manuel Andres counsel of convicted drug trafficker Amim Iman Boratong, wrote a letter to the IBP requesting the bar to step in on the matter.
“Pursuant to the directive of the Board of Governors, we are herewith endorsing the said letter with our favorable recommendation to the Honorable Secretary for the observance of the right to counsel of the transferred inmates,” the IBP said in a letter addressed to De Lima dated Jan. 12.
“We shall be grateful for any appropriate action on this matter,” the IBP added in its letter which was received by the office of De Lima on Jan. 20.
Boratong had earlier filed a petion for habeas corpus before the Supreme Court asking the high court to rule on the legality of their transfer. The SC on Jan. 14 ordered the DOJ to justify the transfer of the inmates.
Boratong is among the 19 high-profile inmates transferred from the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) Maximum Security Compound in Muntinlupa City to the NBI compound in Taft Avenue Manila following a raid at the NBP which yielded contraband items such as illegal drugs, mobile gadgets, cash, expensive watches and even sex toys.
The raid also led to the discovery of luxurious “kubols” one of them with a recording studio and another with a gym and a jacuzzi.
On Dec. 18, 2014, another inmate, Noel Martinez, represented by Ferdinand Topacio, had filed a petition for a writ of Amparo before the Court of Appeals (CA). He was later joined by his fellow inmates German Agojo, Willy Sy and Michael Ong Chan.
The appeals court’s Sixth Division issued the writ for Martinez on January 12 and the case is now being heard. Martinez had also filed on December 22, 2014 a formal complaint before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against De Lima for alleged violation of his “constitutional rights against incommunicado detention and cruel and inhuman punishment.”
The CHR, on January 8, has directed the DOJ to comment on the complaint.
De Lima had earlier maintained that there was nothing illegal with the transfer of the inmates as the NBI detention facility is an extension facility of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) which has the direct supervision of the NBP. —Elizabeth Marcelo/NB, GMA News.
x x x."