The Philippine Senate is set to investigate the existence of a “secret jail” in Manila reportedly used as a detention center for suspected drug dealers.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he has approved resolutions to start the probe, adding the existence of the detention cell is illegal.
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa justified the existence of the “secret jail” on May 2, saying that it might be illegal but necessary because of a lack of space in police stations.
A team from the country’s Commission on Human Rights discovered the “secret jail” in Manila’s Tondo district last week.
Philippine church leaders voiced alarm over the existence of the facility, saying that it was “suspicious because those detained there do not have any record of their arrest.”
The Philippine National Police has already suspended at least 12 police officers assigned to the facility.
A 2015 study by the Commission on Human Rights revealed that “unofficial lockups” are a common feature in Philippine police stations.
The study noted that detainees in police lock-up cells in the national capital routinely suffer “deprivation and neglect with respect to their fundamental human rights.”