Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete. (File photo)
MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday formally received the death certificates of 21 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who died from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) at the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
In a message to newsmen, Justice Undersecretary and spokesman Markk Perete said the certificates will be turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which is conducting an independent investigation into the deaths which include a number of high-profile drug convicts.
“The DOJ is in receipt of the death certificates of all 21 PDLs who died from Covid-19. These, along with the swab test results and other documents, will be turned over to the NBI which is conducting the investigation into the death of high-profile inmates at the national penitentiary. Since this is an ongoing NBI investigation, we leave to the NBI when and what documents to disclose,” Perete said.
Perete confirmed that among those in the list are high-profile PDLs namely Jaybee Sebastian, Francis Go, Jimmy Yang, Benjamin Marcelo, Zhang Zhu Li, Jimmy Kinsing Hung, Eugene Chua, Ryan Ong, and Amin Boratong.
He, however, declined to name the other inmates on the list.
“The death certificates indicate the cause of death. But as I said, it will be better for NBI to complete its probe and make its own report on these matters,” Perete said.
Sebastian is a key witness in the drug case against Senator Leila de Lima. (PNA)