A SENATOR on Thursday pushed for the immediate passage of a bill mandating the quick and accurate reporting of deaths and illnesses of persons in detention, including minors.

“The late reporting of these deaths, suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths, and the identity of these high-profile inmates shocked the nation,” Senator Richard J. Gordon, who chairs the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, said in a statement.

He previously filed Senate Bill 1771 or the Death in Custody Reporting Bill, which seeks the monthly filing of reports of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and detained children in conflict with law (CICL) convicted of a heinous crime or crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to respective departments and agencies.

Mr. Gordon called for the passage of the bill after an investigative media report showed that an average of 55 prisoners have died while serving their sentences inside the New Bilibid Prison from Oct. 2019 to April 2020.

There are many questions regarding “the truthfulness and veracity of these reports,” he said, and the circumstances in which the inmates died.

Under the proposed law, non-reporting will be punishable by up to 12 years in jail with a fine of up to P1 million, while false reporting or letting a PDL or CICL escape will be penalized with imprisonment and fines of up to P5 million. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan