CHR suspects privacy breach

THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) frowns at the Mabolo Police Station’s policy prohibiting detainees from wearing undergarments.

CHR 7 officer-in-charge Arvin Odron described the new policy as “unreasonable.”

“That (should be) subject to thorough discussion because it might encroach on the right of privacy of the inmates,” he said.

The Mabolo Police Station adopted the policy after a 35-year-old detainee attempted suicide last Tuesday using the garter of his underpants.

The man was rescued by fellow detainees and the police officers who were on duty at that time. He was brought to the Cebu City Medical Center where he died in the afternoon of the same day.

Odron said that the elastic bands of undergarments are not the only clothing items that can be used in suicides. He said that a shirt can also be used.

Shirts

“I am concerned that they might soon prohibit shirts and pants too,” he said.

Dominique Morales, 45, said that he and his fellow detainees have no problem with the policy.

Okay ra man para wa na sa’y mahitabo nga naay maghikog sa mga inmates, (We will abide by it to ensure that there won’t be another suicide,)” he said. “Lisod pud kung di mi mopatuo kay sila man maoy madaot (Disobeying would only make things complicated and the police might be disgraced).”

Morales said that the inmates have informed their relatives to not bring underpants and other prohibited items, including face towels and toothbrushes.

Odron said that he is yet to coordinate with higher officials of the PNP to discuss the policy.

Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director, said in a separate interview that security in police detention cells needs to be tightened to prevent suicide.

But he told reporters that stopping a person who is determined to commit suicide would be difficult.

“We are only restricted by our imagination if (we) really want to commit suicide,” he said.

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