By ARIS FRANCISCO
Spokesperson, NPA Comval-North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command
The Compostela Valley-North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command of the New People’s Army has in its custody Jose Mervin Coquilla, the provincial jail warden of Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH/GRP) since 23 December 2014, when he was arrested outside his house at 7:45 pm in Panabo City.
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.
Complaints against Coquilla include his willful negligence in the supervision of inmates and his direct and indirect, overt and covert, participation in drug trade and drug use inside the Compostela Valley 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. 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.
Coquilla’s negligence, corruption and other related criminal acts mirror the recently exposed tacit endorsement by the high officials of the GPH New Bilibid Prison of the scandalous and extravagant lifestyle of wealthy inmates and druglords inside the GPH prison.
Coquilla’s acts also perpetuate the anguish of political prisoners who have suffered for so long from the unjust judicial system that has criminalized their revolutionary acts and sacrifice.
While currently undergoing investigation for his possible involvement in these acts, Coquilla is 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.
The NPA’s arrest of Coquilla should not be made a justification for any retaliatory acts against political prisoners. This is not withstanding the fact that the complainants are regular prisoners themselves, thus demonstrating Coquilla’s sheer unpopularity in his turf.
Coquilla’s custodial detention is governed by the rules of the NPA and is under the authority of the People’s Democratic Government. We assure his family that he is being treated well by the NPA and the revolutionary mass base.