OVER 200 inmates at the Manila City Jail (MCJ) held a noise barrage yesterday to protest to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology the administration of their jail warden J/Supt. Gerald Bantag. A total of 35 inmates were reportedly wounded, apart from four members of the BJMP.
The mass protest began at 9 a.m. where some inmates even courageously went up the roof to unfurl banners saying, ‘Palitan si warden, pahirap sa preso’.
It was learned that three gunshots rang out inside the MCJ during the protest which was reportedly spearheaded by members of the ‘Batang City Jail.’
Visiting relatives of the inmates said Bantag had been allegedly threatening to kill some of the inmates, even as they noted that Bantag used to be the jail warden at the Parañaque City Jail but was transferred after an explosion occurred in the said jail.
The noise barrage and tension inside the MCJ stopped when operatives from the Manila Police District-Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and the BJMP arrived.
Some prisoners complained that the jail guards beat them up, kicked and punched them in various parts of the body and that food from visitors were being restricted so they are forced to buy inside the jail compound.
The inmates also expressed fear over an alleged order to segregate those who are facing drug charges.
The noise barrage reportedly led to a riot wherein rocks flew, prompting the jail guards to fire with rubber bullets. Improvised weapons were confiscated by the police during a subsequent search done in the jail.
Visitation was suspended by the BJMP pending an investigation into the chaos which was contained at past 12 noon already.
The BJMP, meantime, said the segregation was meant to make the drug inmates undergo therapy and physical fitness programs, counselling and spiritual enhancement activities.
It was learned that the MCJ has 3,927 inmates.