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Cebu inmates can dance but half won’t

First Posted 09:25:00 03/03/2010

THEY have been allowed to dance again.

Dance practices, routines, and a choreographer were all in place at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), signaling the ?normalization? of the jail facility's operation.

But whether the inmates are still eager to dance as they were before, still remains to be seen.

A relative of an inmate relayed to Cebu Daily News a message from convicted prisoner Egan Torrecampo that ?about 50 percent of the detainees no longer wanted to dance since the suspension of public viewing last January.?

Torrecampo, one of lead dancers at the jail facility, said his scheduled transfer to the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa was put on hold by the jail administration because there was no other one who can take his place.

?Pasayawon lagi sila ug pugsanay bisag dili na sila ganahan musayaw,? the relative said in a phone conversation. The relative also said that if they refuse to dance, they will be punished. They would not however elaborate what the punishment was.

Capitol Consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said that while dancing has already resumed as part of the rehabilitation program, public viewing still remained suspended.

He said the Governor had already sought the services of the original ?Thriller? choreographer, Vince Rosales, to teach the dance routines inside the jail facility for the inmates.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia suspended the public viewing of the CPDRC dances last January, saying she wanted to highlight that the CPDRC was not about the dancing of the inmates but the rehabilitation program being imposed there.

The governor also said she would impose a new system of accounting there as she removed the services of his brother, Byron Garcia as security consultant at the jail.

She said her office had received reports about improper documentation of donations.

Torrecampo, a convicted murder suspect, had sought the help of relatives to relay his message because of fear he would not be able to avail of the benefits if he remains at the CPDRC and not at the National Prison. The benefits could range from a shortened sentence.

He said he was scheduled for transfer this March but was told by jail officials that it would be put on hold because he would be playing an integral part in the public performances.

?Magpatabang unta lagi mi ug unsaon namo ni nga di na man mi ganahan musayaw, pugson man mi,? Torrecampo was quoted as saying.

The inmate also said that Mayor de Mayores Leo Suico had also told him he was not among those who will be transferred to Muntinlupa.

But Sepulveda said he had no immediate information on the claims of Torrecampo and would verify the information today with Jail Warden Lito Gabuya.

Sepulveda, consultant on information, said that if an inmate was due to be shipped to Muntinlupa, they would not hold it off because of the dancing.

?We are not looking for dancers here. This is not a dancing institution. This is a rehabilitation center, so we will not hold shipment of inmates just because they are the lead dancers,? he said.

The consultant said prisoners would be made to dance for ?discipline? unless they are ill. But if Torrecampo says he doesn?t want to dance,? dili na mahimo. He is not in a summer camp, he is in a prison facility,? said Sepulveda.


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