Monday, March 13, 2006

Military builds maximum-security prison for coup plotters

Military builds maximum-security prison for coup plotters
First posted 05:14pm (Mla time) Mar 13, 2006
By Joel Francis Guinto

THE MILITARY is reconstructing the former guesthouse of deposed president Joseph Estrada in Tanay town, Rizal province into a maximum-security prison for suspected coup ringleaders.

Construction at the detention cell in Camp Capinpin, some 53 kilometers northeast of Manila, is expected to finish soon, Army Chief Lieutenant General Hermogenes Esperon told reporters

"When you are inside that detention cell you are the most secured individual," Esperon said.

When pressed by reporters, Esperon said "those involved in destabilization" would be kept in the new jail cell, once it is finished.

"As much as possible, we don't want to imprison civilians there. They would be better off with the Philippine National Police or the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology," Esperon said.

Reporters who joined an Army "jungle fighter" challenge in Camp Capinpin over the weekend were barred from entering the construction site.

They observed that Estrada's former detention cell was not visible from the roadside. It had been before construction began.

Two high concrete fences, each topped by barbed wires, enclose the detention cell. Several guard posts and watch towers were also being built around the perimeter.

Estrada, who is facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan, is currently under house arrest at his sprawling guest house near Camp Capinpin.

The military claimed to have foiled a plot to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by having soldiers join anti-government marches last February 14.

Several senior officers, including Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim and Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin, are being investigated for alleged involvement in the supposed coup plot.

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