A TALE OF FEMALE DETAINEES
Detainees, wherever they may be lodged, whether in a hospital, crammed jail, lock up, a special detention house, police custodial center, speaks a lot about their respective persona. And while their respective detention place may project unsavoury impression and may advance suspicion of biased handling given a spacious area, what is important is their instant presence in the event of a court required attendance. More so, detention should never be a component of punishment since guilt is as yet to be determined by law.
The law may be cold and neutral, at times warm and considerate against any of those who are suspected of having transgressed society’s norms but jailing or incarcerating or, yes, detaining women is the height of abuse and cruelty. A women suspect or offender may have committed a wrong, may have sinned gravely, may have violated sacred strictures, but their femininity should never be reduced at all. I do not mind if the male specie undergoes the rigors of pain and segregation, they are designed that way anyway, but this should never be allowed to the female sector. At best, the female suspect should be confined only in her house if at all there is a need for detention. There ought to be a legislative consideration addressing this concern.
Let us look at those we know.
Atty Gigi Reyes, 54, former chief of staff of detained Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was recently charged and eventually detained as an accused in the plunder case involving the diversion of P10 Billion in congressional pork barrel funds, a non bailable crime. She lived a fine and decent life away from penury and want, away from the stress of making a living. Everything was for her rosy and bright until the curtain of alleged corruption, brought about by a complicated maze of finger pointing, landed on her lap. According to whistle blowers, she was the front and the one in receipt of kick backs amounting to millions of pesos generated from falsified projects of Janet Lim Napoles. The paper trail could not be ignored hence, the case. At present, she is confined in a hospital.
Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late Communist Party spokesman Roger Rosal, charged of Kidnapping and Murder, both unbailable offenses, was arrested in a remote barrio of Quezon province, pregnant and about to give birth a few months. Her relation to her famous/notorious father could not escape authorities from attributing rebel cause crimes against her person. One military operation bagged her and instantly, she was detained in a jail facility supervised by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. Considering her health condition, she sought permission for medical assistance and referral in a hospital. At present, she is confined in the BJMP jail.
Deniece Cornejo, model and in her profile claimed as artist, was detained for the alleged kidnapping and mauling of TV host Vhong Navarro. A case of illegal detention was filed against her and several co-accused, case that is unbailable. She was immediately placed under custody of NBI and confined accordingly in one of its facility.
Janet Lim Napoles is linked with an alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund together with Philippine Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and other congressmen. Although a case of plunder is as yet to filed against her, her continued detention is a consequence of a case which her relative, Ben Hur Luy, a state recognized whistle blower, filed against her for illegal detention. She is currently detained in a bungalow in a Police Camp designated as detention facility for high risk offenders.
Wilma Tiamson, along with husband Benito, believed to be the tandem in charge of the top hierarchy of the communist party in the country, the only surviving communist organization despite the fall of communism in the world. Their leadership inspired offenses allegedly committed to serve political and social purposes but nonetheless were common felonies for which they are arrested and detained. The couple is confined in the custodial center of the Philippine National Police.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former President (the 12th President) and currently representative (Congresswoman) of Pampangga was charged of Plunder in the connection with alleged fund mess and diversion in hundreds of millions of pesos from PCSO during her term. She is now under hospital arrest.
And many other female detainees confined in various jails, locks ups all over the country.
Call them what you may, but still I believe that they should be at home (on house arrest) and not anywhere else. I would even venture a proposal that service of sentence, if at all they are convicted (should there be a law along this line to be passed later) may take the form of community service and restricted in confinement in their respective houses. Institutional confinement is only resorted to as a consequence of violation of the penalty scheme.