jail officers of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and 35 inmates were wounded when around 200 members of the Batang City Jail (BCJ) staged protest actions yesterday morning by climbing the roof of their dormitory at the Manila City Jail (MCJ) and holding a noise barrage to oppose the segregation or reclassification being implemented by the bureau.
The mass protest began at around 9 a.m. when some inmates went up to the roof to unfurl banners which read: “Palitan si Warden, Pahirap sa preso”. The inmates were referring to jail warden JSupt. Gerald Bantag. The disturbance started at Dorm 9 and 10 where the BCJ gangmen are housed.
Reports said that three gunshots rang out inside the MCJ during the protest which was reportedly spearheaded by members of the BCJ.
Visiting relatives of the inmates said that Bantag had been allegedly threatening to kill some of the inmates. Inmates’ relatives expressed fears that the incident in Paranaque City Jail might happen in MCJ under the administration of Bantag.
Bantag was a former jail warden at the Paranaque City Jail and was transferred to MCJ after a jail blast incident.
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.
BJMP-National Capital Region Director Chief Supt. Romeo Elisan said the BCJ inmates suddenly resisted an order to separate those facing illegal drug cases from jailbirds with other cases. The segregation of inmates started around 5 a.m.
Members of other gangs like Commando, Bahala na Gang, Sigue-Sigue Sputnik gave no resistance as they peacefully headed to their new dormitories.
However, when it was the BCJ’s turn, the gangmen suddenly resisted and staged a noise barrage.
The BJMP national headquarters in a statement said that the segregation of inmates with drug-related offense is one of the bureau’s anti-illegal drugs advocacy programs. Its purpose is to give the inmates who are jailed for substance abuse proper interventions such as therapy programs, physical fitness programs, counselling, and spiritual enhancement activities.
Seven pointed objects were confiscated from the BCJ gangmen.