Elago volunteers free legal aid to jail inmates PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 14:13

Former Councilor and lawyer Juan Climaco Elago has expressed willingness to offer free legal service to inmates who were allegedly victims of maltreatment at the city jal pending results of their cases in court.

However, Elago said he has not yet been consulted by families of any of the inmates who were reportedly isolated in a cell called “bartolina” after a noise barrage initiated by cell-leaders or “bosio” the other day that triggered a high tension atmosphere inside the city jail.

“I am volunteering myself to legally assist their needs especially those who do not have their own lawyer yet,” Elago said in a radio interview. 

At least nine detainees were reportedly kept in isolated cells with minor injuries but were ordered to get out by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) personnel headed by lawyer Christina Jimenez a day after the incident.

The isolation of the nine inmates was said to be part of the disciplinary action taken by the jail management.

Jimenez said the inmates have begged jail officers headed by Jail Warden Sr. Inspector Julius Arro to release them from the dark and uncomfortable cell and have vowed not to file legal charges against them (jail management).

Aside from the nine inmates, six others were reportedly transferred to Pagadian City Jail right after the noise barrage.

Jail management claimed that it was another form of disciplinary action against the inmates  for holding the noise barrage. CHR is also looking into the legal aspect relative to the transfer of the inmates outside Zamboanga City jail without a court order.

It was learned that cell leaders or “selda mayor” have convinced their co-inmates to sympathize with them by demonstrating their objection in a form of a noise barrage to the plan of the jail warden for possible changes in the leadership among inmates.

Aside from their objection to the proposed changes, the inmates have complained about the kind of food that they are fed daily.

However, those allegations were denied by the jail warden saying that the cell-leaders were only using it as a scapegoat to the real problem inside the city jail.
Arro said despite his strict and tight security measures, proliferation of illegal drugs inside the jail is still happening with the alleged involvement of the cell leaders who have the privilege to become trustees and “probably in cahoots with some jail personnel.”

Just last year, Arro said, they have filed a case against one of his jail guards who was allegedly caught trying to facilitate the entry of illegal drugs inside the jail.
“I want to impose some changes for the good of the city jail. Change of leadership among the inmates is one of my plans. I am not going to tolerate this illegal activity,” Arro said as he expressed belief that his proposal has prompted the cellleaders to stage a noise barrage. — Jimmy Villaflores