PROVINCIAL jail inmate Angelito Cabalquinto died of injuries caused during a prison brawl, while another inmate, Simplicio Ta-oy, suffered a heart attack, initial results of a Capitol investigation showed.
Lawyer Lito Astillero, head of the investigation committee, said that Warden Lito Gabuya’s earlier report, that Cabalquinto lost his balance while hanging his clothes, was based on hearsay relayed by other inmates.
The inmates’ dance rehearsals were not related to the mauling, which involved 16 inmates, he said.
Based on random interviews with the inmates, Astillero said that Roger Repuela, an assistant to the inmates’ leader, received a death threat from Benjie Undit and Cabalquinto.
Undit is currently in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City, after his family presented a court order for him to be hospitalized.
Reporters were not allowed to interview Undit, whose face was badly bruised.
Cabalquinto’s wife, Marlyn, said in a phone interview that she could not believe allegations Angelito had threatened another detainee.
“Nausab na man gyod to siya (He had changed for the better),” she said.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 7 investigation division wants to find out the truth behind the inmates’ deaths.
“Our purpose is to get information,” CHR legal officer Atty. Arvin Odron said in a Balitang Bisdak report. He explained they can begin an inquiry even in the absence of a formal complaint.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the Province will welcome a parallel investigation.
“We assure them that as long as they coordinate with the Cebu Provincial Government, since this is a provincial jail after all, then we will assist them in whatever way...
In fact the investigation committee headed by Astillero can share data with them,” she told reporters.
Warden Gabuya said they are planning to change the inmates’ cell assignments.
The governor added they are coming up with a guidebook, which will define the handling of donations given to the inmates, particularly for their regular dance performances.
About 25 percent will be retained by the provincial jail while 75 percent will to a pooled inmates’ fund.
Former Capitol consultant Byron Garcia recently alleged jail officials were hiding Undit.
Astillero, however, said that during a search, a weapon made from a toothbrush was taken from Undit. Confirmation that he had a weapon triggered a riot.
There was no video of the incident, because the investigation room where Undit and Cabalquinto were mauled reportedly has no cameras.
The detainee’s mother, Fortunata Undit, said she heard radio reports her son was being kept in a cell, adding she was hurt that he did not immediately receive treatment.
Benjie’s black eyes are badly bruised, as are his chest and arms. His mother added that the detainee has been spitting blood since Thursday morning, because of the mauling.
Fortunata said they are waiting for the results of the chest and skull x-rays. Her son was in prison for theft and illegal possession of firearms. They are from Balamban, Cebu.
Elizer Undit, 42, said his brother was mauled because of intrigues that he had threatened Repuela.
“Pero wala na sa saktong proceso kay gikulata daw dayun siya wala pa ang investigation (They beat him up before he could be investigated),” Elizer added.