Full accounting of NBP deaths sought

HOUSE Assistant Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Niña  Taduran on Monday sought full accounting of all reported deaths in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Taduran also called on a postmortem testing of the deceased inmates,  including those who allegedly died of coronavirus diosease-19  (COVID-19).

“Nakakapagduda naman ang pangyayari. Bakit napakagaling naman yatang  mamili ang virus?,” asked Taduran in light of the reported death of high profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian allegedly due to COVID-19.

“Did the NBP notify the DOH of Sebastian’s condition prior to his  demise? Dapat imbestigahan ito at ipaalam sa publiko ang katotohanan,”  said Taduran who also wants a full medical report of Sebastian’s case  from day one of his alleged infection.

“Hindi naman maaaring pina-cremate agad at wala nang detalye na  ibibigay sa atin. Dapat ma-account din lahat ng high profile  criminals. At kung sakaling may anomalya, dapat ay may managot dito,”  Taduran stressed.

The lawmaker also asked the Department of Health (DoH) to issue  guidelines on postmortem testing, especially for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

“We need to do autopsies especially in cases wherein we need to  confirm the death of a person, in this case, an inmate who was a vital  witness to the alleged illegal drug trade inside the NBP,” said  Taduran.

The lawmaker advised DoH to follow the protocols of the Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention in the USA which include wearing of the  proper personal protective equipment, careful handling of equipment to  be used in the autopsy, an environment wherein aerosol could flow  freely, and careful collection of postmortem swab specimens for testing of other respiratory pathogens.

Sebastian was still serving time for his involvement in kidnapping for  ransom and carjacking in 2009 aside from being a key witness to the  alleged illegal drug trade in NBP when he reportedly caught the  COVID-19 virus and brought to a facility inside the prison to be  quarantined.

He allegedly died of the virus and was cremated in a crematorium in  Dasmarinas, Cavite.