Daughter of political prisoner assails ‘inhumane’ strip search during jail visit

Bona Fides Lusania said she was subjected to a humiliating and traumatizing strip search last Jan. 8, 2023 (Photo by JJ Ellao / Bulatlat)

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — The daughter of a political prisoner has sought the assistance of the Commission on Human Rights after she was subjected to what she described as a humiliating and traumatic strip search.

In a handwritten complaint, Bona Fides Lusania said she was subjected to a strip search last Jan. 8, which was her first visit to her political prisoner father since the pandemic broke.

The strip search was done just a few steps from the door, without any benefit of privacy. Here, she was told to remove her polo and later frisked from head to toe.

“I just shook my head while the search was ongoing,” she told the media, saying there were passing jail guards who could see her in full view.

Fides is the daughter of political prisoner Julio Lusania, who was arrested in 2018 along with peace consultant Adelberto Silva and three others. Julio is currently detained at the MMDJ Annex 4, along with several political prisoners.

“Why did they search me that way? How about the others?” she asked.

Read: PNP arrests NDFP consultant and companions in Laguna

Read: Gov’t urged to address needs of women prisoners

Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid, a support group for relatives of political prisoners, said the strip search was against the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s own guidelines on how to conduct the search among jail visitors.

Per the BJMP, among the guidelines for strip search for jail visitors should include them agreeing to be searched in writing, and that it would be done in the confidentiality of an enclosed space. These, said Lim, were not met.

Lim said that what Lusania experienced is possibly a retaliation over the reported New Year’s eve party that led to the suspension of a jail officer.

“Why is it that despite the repeated searching, drugs continue to proliferate inside jails? Yet, the retaliation is directed at families of (persons deprived of liberty) who just want to bring food to their loved ones?” said Lim, who is also the wife of political prisoner Vicente Ladlad.

She added that they have received similar reports but are afraid to file a complaint because they fear being prevented from their future visits or that untoward incidents may happen to their detained loved ones.

This, she added, is the reason they are forwarding the case to the CHR.

Read: Under Marcos Jr., political prisoners say same repressive policies still in place

Read: Life Behind Bars: How women political prisoners are treated under the Duterte administration

Read: #TheRealDuterteLegacy | Under Duterte, heightened impunity led to the highest number of women political prisoners

Lim said, “we are asking for support and for an investigation to be conducted against such questionable, anomalous, inhumane, and cruel punishments in jail.” (RVO)

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