Thursday, November 16, 2006

Preferential Treatment

Atong Ang who has been implicated in a plunder case with former president Erap Estrada was today transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig from the Quezon City jail. His motion to remain in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation was denied by the Sandigangbayan. He was not able to prove that he has been getting threats to his life.

The Quezon City Jail whose inmate population more than 3,500 can only accommodate 900 at a time. It is so congested that inmates are forced to sleep in stairwells and the corridors. The warden denied that Ang will be given preferential treatment. He proved this by showing just how congested the jail is.

Okay fine, its congested, but without even waiting for any court order for the transfer, he was brought to his new cell in Taguig. The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology justified the transfer by stating that it can do so without any order from the court.

Ang is perceived by many to be a pawn of this administration to demolish the opposition. He is definitely a VIP for the administration and could be given a little leeway in the name of comfort. He is now holed in an 18 square meter cell all by his lonesome. This is a welcome treat for him considering that the QCJ is a rat hole by human standards. But plunder is a heinous crime and the courts has specifically stated where he is supposed to be detained. If the BJMP can move inmates at will, then they should be fair about it and stick to the process.

Detained in the same compound is a Muslim couple charged with selling illegal drugs. The husband just recently tried to commit suicide by taking a kind of disinfectant. He did this out of grief and depression. A few months ago, their four kids died in a fire which engulfed their home. Its Muslim custom to bury their dead within 24 hours. The unfortunate couple waited for the courts to allow them to see their kids even in death. They waited for the order that never came and the prison personnel could only lament and grieve with the couple.

The BJMP said it can move any inmate at any time they so choose. Then why did they not just give this Muslim couple the chance to spend even just a few minutes with their departed kids? Why make it an excuse to wait for the court order when they can do so on their own? Peddling drugs is a crime but this couple are human beings too. They are not proven guilty yet just like Ang. A little compassion goes a long way. If the courts want credibility, then they must place the BJMP where they should be.

One thing is obvious and glaring in this situation, a poor Muslim couple has nothing to offer this administration, Ang on the other hand has the world to give to the bogus presidency of GMA. His continuing comfort will make him a very good "PARROT".