Pursuant to the findings and recommendations of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Fact-Finding Committee (Committee), composed of DOJ Undersecretary Francisco F. Baraan III, National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Jose D. Doloiras, and DOJ State Counsel Charles Romulus A. Cambaliza, in connection with the 28 May 2014 to 02 June 2014 unauthorized outside hospitalization of convicted drug lord, Sigue-Sigue Sputnik gang leader, and maximum security National Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmate Ricardo "Chacha" Camata (CAMATA), a prima facie case exists against the following officers:
- For GRAVE MISCONDUCT, GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY, and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SERVICE:
1.P/Supt. Fajardo Lansangan (LANSANGAN), NBP Superintendent and Officer-in-Charge;
2. Dr. Gloria Achazo-Garcia (ACHAZO-GARCIA), Officer-in-Charge of the Medical and Dental Division of the BuCor;
3. Dr. Ma. Cecilia Villanueva (VILLANUEVA), Medical Specialist I and attending physician;
4. PIS Gabriel Magan (MAGAN), Chief of the NBP Escort Service;
5. PG1 Aldrid Garino (GARINO);
6. PG1 Antonio Bangoy (BANGOY);
7. PG1 Eugenio Sabado (SABADO);
8. PG1 Edgardo Gamboa (GAMBOA);
9. PG1 Ernesto Calla (CALLA); and
10. PG1 Herald Duran (DURAN).
B. LANSANGAN, ACHAZO-GARCIA, VILLANUEVA, and MAGAN to be placed under preventive suspension for a period of ninety (90) days upon receipt of the Formal Charge; and
- Prison Guards GARINO, BANGOY, SABADO, GAMBOA, CALLA, and DURAN to be re-assigned to perform the functions of regular prison guards with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) upon receipt of the Formal Charge.
As to the liability of BuCor medical personnel Respondents ACHAZO-GARCIA and VILLANUEVA, the Committee found that the Secretary of Justice should have been notified, pursuant to the BuCor Operating Manual or other issuances, whether to secure her previous authorization or to at least give her notice (a) in the 19 May 2014 request for authority for referral to an outside hospital for the purpose of securing her permission; and (b) when CAMATA was brought to the Metropolitan Medical Center via emergency referral on 28 May2014, for the purpose of giving notice to the Secretary of Justice of the said referral.
The facts show that on 18 May 2014, CAMATA went to Respondent VILLANUEVA to complain about "several neck masses associated with body malaise and progressive weight loss"; and that on the next day, as a result of the consultation, Respondent VILLANUEVA prepared a Medical Abstract to recommend the inmate's referral to a pulmonologist, Dr. JV Gutierrez, at the Metropolitan Medical Center.
According to the findings, "[w]hat is material, however, to both [Respondents ACHAZO-GARClA and VILLANUEVA) for them to be able to properly apprise not only the NBP Superintendent (assuming he was able to faithfully comply with his own duty to refer the same) and the Secretary of Justice of the propriety, nay, necessity of referring the inmate to an outside medical institution, is the manner in which the two (2) Medical Abstracts, which were the bases for both referrals, were drafted." The Committee, thus, noted that the 27 May 2014 Medical Abstract is a virtual word-for-word reproduction of the 19 May 2014 Abstract, except for the intercalation of the words "emergency referral and possible admission" to the recommendatory portion thereof; and that both referrals of May 19 and 27, 2014 of inmate CAMATA to the Metropolitan Medical Center were not emergency in nature, yet were without the approval of the Secretary of Justice, contrary to the provisions of the Bureau of Correction Operating Manual. Respondents ACHAZO-GARCIA and VILLANUEVA's "reliance upon the provision under the Code of Ethics of the Medical Profession stating that a physician should administer at least first aid treatment and then refer the patient to a more competent health provider and appropriate facility if necessary in emergency cases, while proper and commendable, must be tempered. The said Section of the Code should be read in conjunction with Section 3 of Article III of the same Code which, in part, states that "a physician shall assist the government in the administration of justice in accordance with law".
The Committee, hence, concluded that Respondents ACHAZO-GARCIA and VILLANUEVA "failed to dispense with the diligence required of them, not only as medical practitioners who answer to a different Code and possess their own standard of diligence, but more importantly, as public servants". Respondent VILLANUEVA, for drafting the said Medical Abstracts, and Respondent ACHAZO-GARCIA, for co-signing the same, thus setting in motion this unfortunate chain of events, have been negligent in the performance of their respective duties.
With respect to the liability of Respondent LANSANGAN, the Committee observed that the former "failed to perform [his] functions, as the Superintendent of the [NBP], to diligently observe the conduct of the prison officers such as PIS Gabriel Magan, chief of the Escort Unit, and the prison guards of the said unit, and require faithful execution by them of their duties"; and that "these actions permitted inmate [CAMATA] to exit the prison compound under dubious circumstances and, while in the hospital, receive various unauthorized guests and make liberal use of his cellular phone".
Based on the records of the case, acting on requests for the referral to an outside hospital by the NBP medical staff, Respondent LANSANGAN issued a Memorandum, dated 29 May 2014, addressed to the Secretary of Justice, to inform her that CAMATA had been transported to the Metropolitan Medical Center for emergency treatment; and that the said Memorandum was, however, unfortunately misplaced in Respondent LANSANGAN's office and mixed along with other documents which were to be studied at a further time, and not timely transmitted to the Honorable Secretary.
The Committee differed with Respondent LANSANGAN's claim that what took place was a "fortuitous event", which prevented him from complying with his obligation to provide the Secretary with notice of the emergency referral within the period required by the 10 April 2013 Memorandum necessitating that notice be given to the Secretary of Justice within forty-eight (48) hours. It further added that "[a]s Superintendent of the NBP, [Respondent LANSANGAN] is and should be aware of the fact that he would be dealing with copious amounts of paperwork appurtenant to his office and his function as the supervisor of the NBPs. xxx xxx xxx For these same reasons, it cannot be said that the misplacement of the Memorandum was inevitable, for the same implies that there was no way that could not have been stopped, even if foreseen."
Neither did the Committee agree with Respondent LANSANGAN's assertion disclaiming responsibility and shifting the blame on a subordinate officer for the below average performance of the escort guards in their handling of inmate CAMATA during the latter's stay at the Metropolitan Medical Center. The Committee posited that "such a view is unacceptable and plainly contrary to his mandate under the BuCor Operating Manual to 'observe the conduct of the prison officers and guards and require faithful execution of their duties'. [W]hile indeed it is PIS Magan's immediate concern to correctly implement the security procedures in case of outside medical treatment, it is, consequently, Respondent LANSANGAN's immediate concern to ensure that PIS Magan is properly carrying out his functions at all times." For these reasons, it is the Committee's finding that Respondent LANSANGAN has been negligent in the performance of his duties .
Anent the liability of Respondent MAGAN, the Committee found that "as Chief of the [NBP] Escort Unit, it [was his] responsibility to see to the proper training of the prison guards designated to [his] unit, and their strict observance of their escorting duties"; and "that despite the foregoing, serious lapses in procedure and protocol were revealed during the incident of inmate Camata's 28 May 2014 to 02 June 2014 referral to the Metropolitan Medical Hospital, including, but not limited to the failure to get the identities of the various visitors received by the inmate during the said period, their failure to inspect their belongings for any contraband or object which may be used to harm or rescue the inmate, and their failure to record the visits in their Mission Logbooks, inter alia".
The Committee noted that "[Respondent MAGAN]'s issuances, which for some reason never reach the addressees, the briefings he gives during the Unit's periodic assemblies, his text message instructions to his escort personnel, and his reactionary issuances which lead to no concrete actions, clearly fall short of what is mandated of him as the Chief of the NBP Escort Unit. These actions risk the capture or rescue of inmates and unnecessarily jeopardize the lives and well-being of his Unit's escort guards."
The Committee added that "Respondent MAGAN should be aware of the gravity of the functions of his office. However, his actuations belie this and it is clear to this Committee that he should be made liable therefor due to his negligence."
In relation to the liability of the twelve security guards, the Committee focused on the following prison guards: Respondents GARINO and SABADO, who were on duty on 31 May 2014 during the 2 PM to 10 PM shift when CAMATA first received visitors (Miller, Gonzales, and Villacampo); Respondents CALLA and DURAN, who were on duty on 01 June 2014 during the 2 PM to 10 PM shift when Camata received the three (3) unidentified guests for a second time; and Respondents BANGOY and GAMBOA, who were on duty during the 10 PM to 6 AM shift, from 01 June to 02 June 2014, during the time that Woman B, the woman in the dark dress adverted to above, stayed for over seven (7) hours in CAMATA's room in the Metropolitan Medical Center.
Consequently, the Committee relieved PG2 Enrique Valenzuela, PG1 Prudencio Gascon, PG1Joven Antolin, PG1Almario Almanon, PG1 Pedro Poquiz, Jr., and PG1 Diego de Guzman of any liability pertaining to the hospital visit of inmate CAMATA as it appears that based on the Duty Detail Orders, none of them were present or at least on duty during the times relevant to the Committee's inquiry.
The Committee found that "on 27 May 2014, while [Respondents GARINO and SABADO] were the escorts or the guards of inmate Camata during confinement at the Metropolitan Medical Center, they allowed his visitors inside his hospital room without proper processing; the visitors include one (1) female and two (2) males. All of them have since been identified as Krista Miller, a local celebrity; Enrico "Jeffrey" Gonzales, an event organizer and handler of Ms. Miller doing business under the name "Jeffrey G. Entertainment Productions", and one Arnold Villacampo, allegedly an assistant of Gonzales in his business, all of whom should have been prevented from visiting Camata in the first place"; "that the three guests arrived in Camata's room at 7:24 PM, where they were welcomed by Camata and led into the room. The two male visitors then exited the room at 7:34, and would re-enter the room at 8:09 PM. At 8:11PM, both males leave again and re-enter at 8:18 PM. It was at 8:21 PM when all three visitors were seen leaving Camata's room"; "that the CCTV footage of the visit showed that [Respondents GARINO and SABADO] completely failed to perform [their] duties as escorts of Camata, a high-security inmate, whom [they] freely allowed to entertain the three visitors like he was an ordinary hospital patient"; and "[t]hat all these acts were allowed to take place without the details of the visit (e.g. the' names of the visitors, their relation with Camata, the purpose of their visit) being recorded in the Mission Logbook".
Similarly, "during [their] respective shifts as escorts during inmate Camata's confinement at the Metropolitan Medical Center from 01 June 2014 until 02 June 2014, [Respondents CALLA and DURAN] allowed one (1) male and two (2) female visitors to enter the room unprocessed, unrestricted, and identified, all of whom should have been prevented from visiting Camata in the first place"; "[t]hat in fact, one of the lady visitors of Camata was permitted to stay inside his room from roughly 7 in the evening of 01 June 2014 until approximately 5:30 in the morning of the following day, 02 June 2014, well into the shift of the relieving guards, [Respondents BANGOY and GAMBOA]"; "[t]hat all these acts were allowed to take place without any of them being recorded in the Mission Logbook".
The Committee found that "the respective explanations of the prison guards failed to properly explain their palpable errors in the handling and escorting of inmate CAMATA, especially in the face of what is clearly manifested in the CCTV footage". "Their respective failures to conduct a search of Camata's visitors' belongings certainly contravene their obligation to prevent the inmate from escaping, obtaining forbidden articles, or protect him from harm. The mere assumption that the visitors were relatives or friends does not excuse them from their obligation to exercise extreme caution, especially considering that they did not identify the said visitors in the first place." "Plus, considering that none of them bothered to secure the identities of the visitors, it is clear that they permitted the inmate to converse with unauthorized persons, for there would be no way for any of them to determine if the visitors were authorized persons to begin with if they did not even know who any of the visitors were." "The same can also be said about the acquisition of forbidden articles, especially since no inspections, whether thorough or superficial, appear to have been conducted by any of the escorts."" Finally, it is clear that possibility of harming the inmate was wide open. The understanding is that one guard shall always have his eye on the ward while the other is expected to keep watch of the door."
It is for these reasons that the Committee found it warranted that Respondents GARINO, SABADO, GAMBOA, BANGOY, CALLA, and DURAN are liable for what transpired during the incident relevant to the investigation .