MALOLOS CITY – Despite threats to his life, Alfred Mendiola still wants to stay at the Bulacan provincial jail here.
However, Provincial Jail Warden Pepito Plamenco advised that Mendiola, a state witness on the Lozano-Evangelista murder case, be sent to other safehouse under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice.
“He still wants to stay here despite the fact that he was attacked from the outside,” said Ric Ibera, head of some 2,000 detainees at the Bulcan Provincial Jail here.
He said that Mendiola feels safer inside the provincial jail than in safehouses of the DOJ.
On May 25, Mendiola left the DOJ safehouse and chose to stay at Bulacan provincial jail saying he felt safer here.
But a month after his return to the said jail, he was transferred again to an undisclosed safehouse.
This is due to an attack to his life on the early morning of June 25 when two petrol bombs and two grenades were lobed into his cell from outside the jail.
Luckily, Mendiola and other inmates were not injured, while one of the grenades failed to explode. Inmates here said that someone is serving as the eye of Mendiola’s enemies inside the jail. Thus, they were able to identify the exact location of Mendiola’s cell, and throw explosives from outside the jail using a bamboo ladder.
However, Ibera said that whoever is serving as the eye of Mendiola’s enemies inside the jail cannot do anything.
“They know they cannot make a move against Alfred inside the jail, they know how we work here,” Ibera said noting that every inmate follows the directions of the jail warden and commander.
For his part, Plamenco told Punto that local inmates are willing to protect Mendiola. However, he advised that Mendiola be moved to a better safehouse.
He said that he don’t want other inmates to get hurt in case of another attack. Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said that they have made improvements in the WPP of government.
She added that they have 92 percent conviction rates of cases if witnesses are under the WPP.
De Lima said they already made improvements in their WPP saying that 25 of witnesses who enrolled with WPP came between July 2010 and April 2010.
“It’s a big number compared to the number of witnesses who joined the WPP since its inception in 1995,” she said.
De Lima added that DOJ recorded a high 92 percent on conviction rates of cases when witnesses are under the WPP. “We hope to continue and further improve our WPP, its not easy, its actually very sensitive but we are making headway.”