REPORTS that inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) are forced to dance will be the subject of a probe by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

CHR’s Leo Villarino said they may conduct the investigation after they complete the one they are conducting now on the recent death of an inmate due to mauling.

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He said CHR can’t integrate the probe on the dancing inmate with the one on the death of Angelito Cabalquinto because they may lose focus.

He said their focus now is on Benjie Ondit, the inmate who sustained injuries during the prison brawl.

In a radio program over DySs, where Villarino was one of the guests, the CHR official said there’s a need for another investigation specially that Ondit has not mentioned the issue on dancing inside the jail.

“It is hard to include the dancing issue in the report because it was never mentioned by Benjie,” Villarino said.

Financial help

Fortunata Ondit, Benjie’s mother who had asked for financial help from Gov. Gwen Garcia, said her son did not mention they were forced to dance, although she said her son is interested in dancing.

Capitol consultant Lito Astillero, who heads the committee on discipline and investigation (Codi) tasked to investigate the death of Cabalquinto, said they also asked the inmates if they are forced to dance.

“(I) wondered where the story first came out,” Astillero said.

He said they don’t see any problem on the CHR’s plan to have another investigation because it is a constitutional office and its function is to investigate.

Prison leaders

Byron Garcia, former Capitol consultant on security and the governor’s brother, suggested to Villarino to ask the inmates if Cabalquinto was also mauled a few months back when he reportedly told prison leaders not to force the inmates to dance.

Byron said the CHR can also ask former inmates if they were forced to dance when they were still inside.