THERE’S no special treatment for former town mayor Alfredo Arsenio in the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), said Capitol officials yesterday.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia repeated that she will order Arsenio’s transfer out of CPDRC even as she described as a “low blow” a Cebu Daily News editorial that questioned why the inmate was enjoying favored treatment in prison, where he was videotaped last week celebrating a party in the warden’s office where visitors brought in food on a non-visitor’s day.
The warden was suspended right after the discovery.
“What does this mean that he has a special connection to the Capitol? The only connection he has is that he’s staying at CPDRC… He really has no connection with the province,” the governor told a press conference.
Garcia said the province spent for Arsenio’s detention like any other inmate and that the crime he was charged with—murder of a broadcaster in Kalibo, Aklan—was committed outside Cebu.
“His stay at CPDRC, where he is sheltered, clothed and fed, as well as guarded, at a high cost, to the provincial government which in the first place has nothing to do with the crime that he is accused with. He is not a Cebuano, and certainly, I vehemently deny that we have any connection,” she said.
Capitol legal officer Marino Martinquilla said the governor has done “everything” to discipline jail guards and personnel.
“Discipline comes after the offense is committed,” he said.
Acting Warden Napoleon Miranda was suspended for 90 days after he was caught on camera allowing Arsenio to hold a party inside his office last month.
The CDN editorial questioned the Capitol’s political will in enforcing jail rules on Arsenio, a former mayor of Lezo town, Aklan province.
It recalled how Arsenio managed to eat lunch in a restaurant with his jail guard escort after a court hearing last Feb. 8 and then hold a party in the warden’s office a month later. Two wardens were replaced in two months over the incidents.
The editorial said Arsenio was not a high security risk and was a political non-entity in Cebu.
“Does he have special connections with the Capitol? Or do his considerable financial resources still make him a force to reckon with?” the editorial asked.
Garcia yesterday said she tasked Lito Astillero, chairman of the committee on discipline and investigation, to review the CPDRC’s obligation in detaining Arsenio.
Martinquilla said they plan to file a motion in court for Arsenio’s transfer. Capitol spokesman Rory Jon Sepulveda said it is in Arsenio’s ‘best interest’ to be transferred due to the controversies around him. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent