Political prisoners file charges vs. SICA-1 Warden Ng-Bonto at the Ombudsman

Political prisoners, their relatives, lawyers and doctors, and human rights advocates today, February 12, filed before the Ombudsman criminal and administrative charges against Jail Senior Inspector Michelle Ng Bonto, OIC Warden of the Special Intensive Care Area 1 (SICA 1)- Camp Bagong Diwa. 
Ng-Bonto was charged with violation of Section 2 (a), (b) and (f) in relation to Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained, or Under Custodial Investigation As Well As the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers, and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof). The complainants also filed an administrative charge against Ng-Bonto for gross misconduct, grave abuse of authority, gross oppression and for conduct unbecoming of a Public Officer.

In their affidavit, the complainants narrated the blatant refusal of Ng-Bonto to allow family members and doctors to visit the political prisoners who were on hunger strike during the Papal visit last January. The political prisoners, in the course of the hunger strike/fasting, faced reprisals and curtailment of their rights.

In an earlier statement, political prisoners said Ng-Bonto’s suspension of visitors at SICA-1 on January 14 incensed some of the detainees, "especially the members of certain hail gangs such as the Sputnik gang, blamed the political prisoners for the prohibition of the visits to them."  

"Reportedly, the SICA-1 jail warden herself is instigating the Sputnik gang in threatening the lives and security of the political prisoners and inciting division among all the detainees by unjustly blaming the political prisoners' fasting/hunger strike as the root of the sudden unfair restrictions on their rights," the political prisoners said. 

“Ng-Bonto did not only violate the rights of political prisoners at SICA-1-Camp Bagong Diwa but has also put their lives at risk. Warden Ng-Bonto and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology cannot simply disregard the law at their pleasure,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson.

Karapatan, through its Secretary General Cristina Palabay, is among the complainants of the case against Ng-Bonto. Other complainants include Bayan Chairperson Carol Araullo and former Gabriela Partylist Representative Liza Maza. 

Ng-Bonto is also currently facing a complaint before Taguig RTC Branch 266 and 271. Through their manifestation, the political prisoners asked the Taguig courts to order Jail Warden Bonto to respect the rights of the political prisoners, especially the right to be visited by doctors and religious ministers of their choice, lawyers, relatives, and human rights organizations. The political  prisoners also asked the court to enjoin Bonto from committing further violations of rights of the political prisoners, including transferring their custody without any court order, and for the court to ensure the safety and security of the political prisoners.

In a hearing conducted yesterday, Fiscal Maria Luz Antonette Toyco manifested in court that Ng-Bonto has not been communicating  and cooperating with her. The Fiscal is now asked to comment on the manifestation/motion filed by the political prisoners. 

“It is time that Warden Bonto face the court. We will not stop until she is made to answer for the violations she committed against the political prisoners,” ended Hilao-Enriquez. ###