Child abuser Peter Scully has apparently been enjoying a VIP experience behind bars, amid fears he may still be running his vile on-line torture movie business from his cell.
The revelations, if true, raise profound questions over the effectiveness of the Philippine prison system.
Evidence from the phone of Liezyl Margallo, his ex-girlfriend and partner in crime, found after her arrest in northern Cebu on Wednesday, showed that they had been in contact over the two years that the self-confessed child torturer had been on the run.
As we have recently reported (here and here) the 23-year-old woman had been living the high life despite being a fugitive from the law, apparently supporting herself by acting as a travel guide offering “extra services” to foreign male clients.
Since her arrest at a high-end beach resort on Malapascua Island, which she was visiting with two British men, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has discovered evidence of phone calls and text messages between her and Scully.
Possessing or using cellphones is strictly prohibited for inmates of the Filipino prison system.
NBI regional director Dominator Cimafranca said: “They definitely continued to communicate with each other.
“We fear that Scully is still on top of his online services (showing sexual torture of children).”
Cimafranca said the NBI was now investigating how Scully managed to contact Margallo. A search of his cell failed to locate any communication devices or other contraband. Officers are continuing to monitor his activities.
However, Mr Cimafranco said: “Scully must be enjoying special treatment where he is staying now. Even Margallo admitted that she never lost contact with him.”
Scully is imprisoned at the city jail of Cagayan de Oro while awaiting trial for qualified trafficking, child abuse and child pornography.
Scully and Margallo stand accused of creating vile videos of children as young as one year old being forced to perform sickening sexual acts. The videos also showed a masked and naked Margallo torturing the terrified children. After Scully’s arrest, the remains of a murdered 12-year-old girl were found buried at his home.
Lawyer Alejandro Jose Pallugna served as Scully’s counsel for the first seven months of his imprisonment. He said Scully continues to demand special treatment in jail, including his own choice of food, an electric fan and other comforts.
“In a sense, he’s a demanding person,” Pallugna said in a phone interview with The Inquirer on Saturday.
According to Pallugna, Scully demanded corned beef, pork, beans and eggs. “And then he said it’s hot inside his cell so he needs an electric fan,” he added.
Pallugna said that by the time he had ceased to represent Scully, due to a disagreement, his demands had not been met by jail staff.
The 53-year-old Australian maintains that he is innocent of at least 75 cases that involved 14 girls.
However, prosecutors fear that despite the compelling case against him, his conviction may be compromised by the loss of some crucial pieces of evidence. Items including a computer, video camera and memory card were destroyed in a fire that razed the Hall of Justice in Cagayan de Oro.
The fire struck on January 30, 2015, three weeks before Scully’s formal arrest, and months after they were seized from his home the previous September.
Mr Pallugna said the prosecution would have to take care not to leave any loopholes open for Scully. “The prosecution should handle the case properly. If Scully gets a good lawyer, there’s really a chance that he can go out of prison,” he said.