Convicted car thief Raymond Dominguez died inside his cell at the New Bilibid Prison Friday morning.
Bureau of Corrections officials said it appeared that Dominguez died of natural causes around 6:20 a.m.
“But we will wait for the medico-legal report,” said BuCor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag said.
Dominguez was one of the high profile NBP inmates found positive for coronavirus disease last year but he had recovered. He was tested twice positive for COVID-19.
Chaclag said Dominguez was imprisoned in April 2012 serving his jail term of 17-36 years for a car theft case in 2010.
Dominguez was also indicted in 2011 for the killing of Venson Evagelista, the son of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) president Arsenio Evangelista.
In July 2020, the Department of Justice and the BuCor vowed to implement improved protocols for handling deaths inside the country’s prisons.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had acknowledged that the existing protocols at the prison were “somehow inadequate.”
The move followed the reported death of nine high-profile inmates, including drug convict Jaybee Sebastian, allegedly due to COVID-19.
Sebastian, who was one of the witnesses in one of the illegal drug trade cases filed against opposition Senator Leila de Lima, died on July 17, 2020 and was immediately cremated.
BuCor initially refused to confirm the death of Sebastian and the eight other high-profile inmates, prompting speculation that they were actually freed or summarily executed.
Reports showed that Sebastian, along with eight other high-profile inmates namely Benjamin Marcelo, Zhang Zhu Li, Jimmy Kinsing Hung, Francis Go, Jimmy Yang, Eugene Chua, Ryan Ong, and Amin Imam Buratong, were reportedly succumbed to COVID-19 last year.
Their remains were immediately cremated at Panteon de Dasmariñas Public Cemetery in Cavite.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee on justice and human rights and the Blue Ribbon committee, had said the deaths of high-profile convicted drug lords detained at the NBP could have been faked.