Benguet jail warden, guard suspended

THE warden and a guard at the Benguet Provincial Jail were suspended for 90 days, pending resolutions of the charges filed against them.Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan issued the preventive suspension of provincial warden James Simon and jail guard Peter Digman effective July 1.



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Simon and Digman are facing administrative charges of neglect of duty and grave misconduct and dishonesty for the escape of an inmate in 2005.

Provincial Administrator Danio Bolislis said the suspension was necessary to protect the integrity of the case.

“There is a need to suspend them to avoid undue influences they may (impose) on the witnesses. Simon and Digman also have the access to the records at the provincial jail, and we want to protect the integrity of the documents presented to the court by preventing them from holding office while their cases are still ongoing,” Bolislis said.

The two jail officers were implicated in the escape of inmate Jerry Bacani who was charged with rape, in 2005.

In a sworn statement of one of the jail guards, he said on November 8, 2005, Simon and another jail guard accompanied Bacani to the Benguet General Hospital for a check-up due to the inmate’s complaints of pain in his genitals, accompanied by constant vomiting.

After about an hour, Simon and Digman went back to the provincial jail without the inmate. The witness inquired from his colleague where Bacani was and was informed they left him at the hospital for treatment.

The witness said no one among them received an instruction from Simon to look after the inmate at the hospital.

The following day, Simon reportedly instructed one of the jail guards to check on Bacani at the hospital. The guard went back to report the inmate was no longer there.

According to Bolislis, Simon ordered Digman to make it appear Bacani escaped when he was turned over to the jail from the hospital.

The doctor has allegedly reported that Bacani was lost.

Simon and Digman have reportedly filed a motion for the lifting of their suspension, raising the argument they could have been suspended immediately upon the discovery of Bacani’s escape in 2005.

But Bolislis said while it may be true the case happened during the last administration, the current leadership is not barred from implementing the suspension.


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