Davao City – The jail warden of Compostela Valley provincial jail is being held by the New People’s Army (NPA) for investigation on his alleged involvement with illegal drugs trade, corruption and negligence inside the prison.
Jose Mervin Coquilla, who heads the Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center in Tagum City, was taken by four unidentified gunmen Tuesday evening in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Reports said as of Wednesday evening police authorities investigating the case are still facing a blank wall as to the whereabouts of Coquilla .
In an interview with Davao Today, Compostela Valley governor Arturo Uy said he “condemn(s) this senseless act”.
In an emailed statement sent by the NPA Comval-North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command, Friday spokesperson Aris Francisco said Coquilla “was taken into custody by the NPA in order to subject him to an investigation to determine his individual culpability with respect to the complaints lodged against him before the People’s Democratic Government by jail inmates and their families.”
Francisco said that inmates complained of Coquilla’s “willful negligence in the supervision of inmates and his direct and indirect, overt and covert participation of drug trade and drug use inside the Comval jail.”
“Coquilla has allegedly siphoned off funds which are already slashed by high officials of the ruling state prison. According to the complaints received by the NPA, Coquilla’s corruption has resulted in the inadequate medical and health care and food provision for inmates. To exercise absolute and fascist control, Coquilla’s guards allegedly perpetrate physical abuse to their prisoners,” Francisco said.
Francisco added that Coquilla “has also purportedly maintained double standards and discriminatory practices.”
“He supposedly imposes strict and inhumane regulations for visiting families who are forced to talk to their loved ones while behind bars. But he allegedly turns a blind eye to inmates who were caught using illegal drugs, and to jail guards who were involved in ferreting drugs inside the prison cells,” said Francisco.
Meanwhile, the NPA command responsible for Coquilla’s “arrest” said that the warden is still “presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and as such, is being treated leniently and humanely by the NPA custodial force, for as long as guerrilla conditions warrant.”
“We assure his family that he is being treated well by the NPA and the revolutionary mass base,” Francisco said.
Coquilla’s arrest came a day before the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) started its staggered 10 day ceasefire.(davaotoday.com)