Tuesday, November 15, 2016

LGBT group in Albay seeks separate custodial cell from male inmates
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 14 (PNA) -- A representative of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Group (LGBT) in Albay has asked a top Philippine National Police (PNP) official engaged in human rights affairs to provide them with a custodial cell separate from the male offenders in various municipal police offices in the province.

Rolando Riva, known as "Tots", chairperson of Gayon Inc. in Albay, made the request to Chief Supt. Dennis A. Siervo, chief of Human Rights Advocates Office in Camp Crame.

Riva said they are not asking for special treatment, only “fair treatment” for LGBT members facing charges and held at PNP custodial centers in various police stations in Albay.

He said there were instances when LGBT members were sexually abused and maltreated inside the custodial cells for men.

Riva said people have a negative notion that “we are happy to be jailed along with men.”

He is also asking for PNCOs or Police Non-Commissioned Officers, who are members of the LGBT community, to be assigned in the investigation division so the “rights of LGBT offenders as human beings will not be violated.”

Riva cited some “abusive or offensive words suffered by an LGBT from a male investigator of the Tabaco City Police Office during the investigation of an LGBT member who was killed in Tabaco City last year.

Siervo told Riva the PNP’s current budget has no allotment for the construction of additional custodial facilities for the LGBT group.

He admitted, however, of cases recorded in Camp Crame wherein some gay inmates were sexually abused by male inmates inside their facilities.

"This is also our problem on how to look at of the security of gay inmates, especially in overcrowded custodial cells,” said Siervo.

He said the LGBT could not be separated from the male inmates because of lack of spaces and custodial facilities.

“Our cell facility is intended only for the temporary custody of suspects but it is not a facility for inmates like those under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology,” said Siervo.

Atty. Arlene Alangco, regional director of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Bicol, instead advised the PNP to "focus on the security of the inmates,” in their custodial facilities.

The multisectoral forum on human rights, which was held Nov. 10 here, was attended by representatives from the ranks of students, media, Moslem groups, nongovernment organizations and government agencies such as the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and CHR. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/EDS