MANILA, May 20, 2011â€” Special treatment given by prison officials to high-profile inmates must be stopped immediately, a Catholic bishop said Friday.
Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview that no matter what they are, inmates should be treated equally along with others in the jail.
â€œ(Authorities) should stop really VIP treatment (in jails),â€ said Arigo, who heads the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of the Philippines.
Arigo was reacting to the controversy surrounding homicide convict and former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste who was caught in and out of the National Bilibid Prison.
The bishop said he had been to the national penitentiary many times and some inmates are being treated â€œdifferentlyâ€ compared to ordinary prisoners.
He said there are those confined in air-conditioned cottages. â€œYou really need to be rich to avail those privilegesâ€¦ you must have money,â€ said Arigo.
The bishop then called on the government to seriously look into and resolve the current controversy at the national penitentiary.
â€œThe existing system or subculture inside the prison should really be investigated,â€ said Arigo.
The CBCP official also said that the issue involving Levite shows the problem of corruption in the justice system even under the present administration.
He said that as long as an inmate has the political influence or money to bribe the police or jail authorities, â€œthe VIP treatment is guaranteed.â€ (CBCPNews)