MANILA – The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 93 has ordered the transfer of former Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez from Camp Crame to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-run Special Intensive Care (SICA) jail in Bicutan, Taguig City.
In an order dated February 26, Presiding Judge Edgardo Bellosillo directed the PNP Headquarters Support Service to “cause the transfer of the custody and detention” of Parojinog despite her insistence to be allowed to stay at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center (PNPCC) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“(T)his court does not find any necessity for the continued detention of accused Parojinog-Echavez in a custodial facility unless there is a clear showing that the same poses existing serious threats and/or that the BJMP SICA does not have adequate resources to sustain the detention of high-risk detention prisoners, such as accused Parojinog.” the court said.
State prosecutors, led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, said Parojinog-Echavez’s “continued detention at the PNPCC affords her special treatment as she is subjected to a different set of rules and procedures not afforded to all other detainees under the BJMP control”.
Last December, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) referred to state prosecutors a memorandum from Brig. Gen. Dennis Basngi, director of the PNP Headquarters Support Service (HSS).
In the memorandum dated Nov. 14, 2019, Basngi sought assistance from the CIDG to request for the transfer of Parojinog to the facility in Taguig.
In echoing the PNP’s position, state prosecutors said the PNPCC is just a “temporary holding facility or lock-up cell for arrested persons” while undergoing custodial investigation or while their cases are undergoing preliminary investigation or while accused are still waiting for their transfer to an appropriate detention facility.
The continued practice of committing prisoners, the prosecutors said, is “unduly burdensome on the part of the PNP because of the financial and manpower requirement it entails ” since it was not meant to be a long-term jail facility which can house a number of prisoners like the facilities of the BJMP.
Echavez is facing illegal drugs and firearms possession charges in connection with a raid by the police on July 30, 2017, against her, her father, former city mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., and uncle, councilor Ricardo “Ardot” Parojinog, for reportedly storing guns in their houses.
The operation resulted in the death of 15 persons, including Parojinog Sr., and his wife. (ia/PNA)