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.