Senate orders release of 3 BuCor execs

MANILA The Senate on Thursday ordered the release of 3 Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials who were detained at the chamber's premises after being cited in contempt for evading questions from senators during a congressional inquiry.

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice, signed the release order of BuCor Documents and Records chief Ramoncito Roque, Legal Division chief Fredric Anthony Santos, and New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital medical officer, Dr. Ursicio Cenas.

"Pursuant to the provision on the Order of Arrest that they will be released if and when they cleans(e) themselves of their contumacious conduct and testify truthfully, the Committee hereby orders the immediate release of Atty. Fredric Anthony E. Santos, CTSO2 Ramoncito Roque, and CTC1 Ursicio D. Cenenas," the release order read.

The three were detained in rooms at the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms since last week for being evasive and "lying" during the panel's investigation into the premature release of heinous crime convicts.

The prison officials questioned the legality of their detention before the Court of Appeals, claiming they were denied due process during the legislative inquiry in aid of legislation into shenanigans in the corrections system.

The Senate had called on the three last September 11 to shed light on the supposed irregularities in the issuance of "hospital passes", which would allow the inmate to continue serving time in relative comfort inside the prison hospital instead of with the general prisoner population.

The three claimed that during the inquiry on the hospital pass for sale racket, "they were invariably interrupted, their answer peremptorily cut short, preventing them from completing their responses, thereby forfending them from defending themselves against the accusations against them."

The petitioners also claimed they "were never informed which of their answers were considered 'evasive' or 'false' and neither were they given the opportunity to dispute said characterization, in other words, no due process was afforded to them." (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency