Davide: How do phones, laptops slip past guards?
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III wants both an investigation and an explanation from officials of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) on the continued acquisition of inmates of contraband items like cellphones and laptops.
Davide’s order came after Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said she wanted custody of the laptop and cellphones that were confiscated from Eileen Ontong and German national Thomas Michael Ruhland.
Both of them are facing human trafficking charges.
“I believe our prison officials have a lot of explaining to do nganong nakalusot ni (why this passed through). We don’t tolerate these things happening in the CPDRC where there are a lot of illegal materials that were taken in,” Davide told reporters.
Last Tuesday’s inspection, which yielded the items, came from a note given by Davide to Magpale.
Marco Toral, Capitol consultant on jail matters, said they’re suspecting that jail guards assigned in the facility for a long time conspired with the inmates to bring in contraband.
“Those found remiss in their duties should be either transferred. If their offense is very grave, for allowing these prisoners to have access to these equipment, then disciplinary action should follow. They have to be disciplined,” Davide said.
In previous weeks, several other prohibited items have also been confiscated by CPDRC officials including sharp objects like knives, scissors, spoon and fork, tarantulas and a projector.
Last week, an inmate named Arnel Mait also slipped past jail guards in broad daylight by posing as a visitor complete with a stamp and a visitor’s ID.
Davide ordered an indefinite suspension of visits as a result.
Provincial Jail Warden Romeo Manansala said if not for the tip they got last Tuesday, they wouldn’t know about Ruhland’s and Ontong’s activities.
But Davide didn’t buy his explanation. “They’re supposed to be the prison officials. They’re supposed to know the ins and outs diha. If there’s someone who slipped past them, that should have reached them already,” Davide said. There are 2,992 inmates inside the CPDRC.
For her part, Magpale said she will talk with Manansala to request custody of the cellphones and laptop from Ontong and Ruhland.
Toral said they turned over the gadgets to the governor’s office.
She said she will send the gadgets to the Homeland Security section of the US Embassy for examination.
When CPDRC officials checked the gadgets, they didn’t find any evidence of cyberpornography.
Magpale said Homeland Security has equipment that can still trace and extract files that may have been deleted inside the gadgets.
“I don’t know if I need a court order for that or what. But I will go through the process. So I’m going to see Mr. Manansala,” Magpale said.
She said her office has been doing surveillance on the two inside the CPDRC and concluded they still continued with their cyberpornography operations.
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