By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol August 13,2016 - 10:52 PM

Prohibited items such as mobile phones are uncovered  at the upper level  rooms of the male dormitory of the Cebu City jail during a greyhound operation at dawn saturday. (CDN PHOTO/CHRISTIAN MANINGO)

Prohibited items such as mobile phones are uncovered at the upper level rooms of the male dormitory of the Cebu City jail during a greyhound operation at dawn saturday. (CDN PHOTO/CHRISTIAN MANINGO)

Jail warden, 30 jail guards relieved after a surprise raid uncovers drugs, P4M in cash and luxury goods

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) announced a major shake-up at the Cebu City Jail after around 300 policemen, clad in full battle gear, stormed into Cebu’s most crowded prison at dawn yesterday and found more than P4.6 million in suspected drug proceeds and hundreds of other contraband items stashed inside what should have been a highly secured facility.

Bundles of bills and packs of coins amounting to P4,653,400, approximately 70 grams of shabu (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride) in 48 pieces of heat-sealed sachets, mobile phones, bladed weapons, flat screen television sets, dozens of branded rubber shoes, a collection of ball caps, personal appliances, ampules of Nubain (injectable painkiller) and several drug paraphernalia were discovered – causing a storm of criticism against jail authorities, allegations of bribe money exchanging hands, and the relief of jail warden Supt. Johnson Calub and guards assigned in the city jail for more than three years.

“It’s now time for them to go. They have become too familiar with the inmates. We must disrupt any closeness they have with each other,” BJMP-7 director Chief Supt. Allan Iral told Cebu Daily News.

Calub has until Aug. 16, Tuesday, to pack up all his things and leave the jail premises.

“We have a one-strike policy to follow. Any greyhound operation that results to the confiscation of contrabands shall result in the relief of the jail warden,” Iral said.

“That’s a tough challenge for any jail warden. But that’s the rule. He needs to find ways to stop the entry of contraband inside the jail,” he added.

The BJMP director also ordered an investigation into Calub’s activities as warden along with those of the jail’s 130 other officials and guards.

The BJMP is looking into reports that Calub received P3,000 from each detention cell every week as bribe. If reports are true, the P3,000 weekly payola amounted to P108,000 weekly from the jail’s 36 detention cells or P432,000 in monthly protection money.

PDEA-7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz in a report to PDEA General Director Isidro Lapeña said that the packs of shabu worth P240,000 were found inside the “kobols” (huts) of three inmates identified as Mark Entece, Marlon Ferolino and Jerome Miñoza following separate searches during the joint police operation.

Acting on a tip

The surprise search conducted by joint elements of the Police Regional Office (PRO-7), PNP Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB-7), the Philippine Coastguard’s K9 Unit and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-7) was based on a tip from a former inmate who reported to police that the Cebu City Jail, formerly known as the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC), was now a drug haven.

Rannie (not his real name), a former detainee at the jail, said drug users would buy and snort illegal drugs inside the city jail because they felt “101 percent” safe inside.

“101 safe kaayo sa sulod sa priso. Bisan ako adto ko mosuyop sa sulod kaysa adto ka sa gawas nga delikado kaayo. Madakpan pa ka (It’s safe to use drugs inside the jail. It’s dangerous outside. We might be arrested),” he said in an interview.

Rannie, a native of Butuan City, arrived in Cebu City last January to find a job.

But instead, he met a friend who brought him to Barangay Pasil, Cebu City where he ended up using illegal drugs. He was arrested and charged for illegal possession of drug paraphernalia.

Upon the advice of a government lawyer, Rannie pleaded guilty to the offense and was sentenced to six months and one day in prison.

He said that while inside the Cebu City Jail, he witnessed firsthand the very rampant illegal drug operations among inmates and their visitors.

“Grabe kaayo ang drugs sa city jail. Makapalit ka didto og bulto-bulto. Kung ting dalaw na gani, tanang priso malipayon kay ang mga bisita mamalit og mosuyop man didto sa sulod (Illegal drugs is rampant in the city jail. You can buy large packs there. All inmates are happy when there are visitors because they buy and use drugs inside the jail),” he said.

He added that a small pack of shabu cost between P50 and P300 inside the jail while those who had no money, could do massage work for other inmates in exchange for shabu.

The shabu supplies, Rannie said, were brought to the jail by visitors who would come on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“Naay mga inmates nga dunay contact sa mga guards on duty. Ila ipasulod ang drugs basta suod nila ang jail guards nga naka duty. Makasulod ra na bisan dili isearch (Inmates who sell drugs have contacts with the guards on duty. Drugs are brought in if the guards on duty are their friends. No search is needed),” he said.

Rannie claimed that each of the jail’s 36 detention cells would give the warden P3,000 every week.

“Gusto ko magbag-o. Mao nibutyag ko ani aron mahuman ang maliligayang araw nila sa sulod sa kulungan. (I want to change my life. That’s why I decided to report to authorities so the happy days inside the jail will end),” he said.

Drug-free jails

To make the jails drug-free, BJMP’s Iral said he intends to conduct regular drug tests on all inmates as well as BJMP personnel.

“I warn both the inmates and our jail officials. Stay away from illegal drugs. You know how relentless the administration’s drive [is] against illegal drugs. Let us cooperate with government,” he said.

Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said there was no need to secure a search warrant from the court since the BJMP gave police the permission to search the city jail.

At about the same time, elements of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CCPO) and PDEA-7 also raided the nearby Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), managed by the provincial capitol, to search for contraband items.

The surprise police search at CPDRC, which had the permission of Gov. Hilario Davide III, resulted in the confiscation of several drug paraphernalia and cellphones from inmates.

But most of the contraband items that were confiscated were discovered at the city jail.

Drug proceeds

BJMP has taken custody of cash recovered from the city jail while an investigation is still being conducted to find out if the bills and coins were proceeds from illegal drugs.

During the raid, city inmates claimed the cash was savings from their Batang Cebu Cooperative that runs a bakery, canteen and other livelihood programs inside Cebu City Jail.

But BJMP found the explanation implausible.

“That’s a huge amount of money. We need to conduct an investigation,” said Iral who accompanied the police operatives in searching the jail yesterday at dawn.

Iral said there were several modes through which drugs were brought inside the city jail.

“It’s either visitors carry the drugs, ask jail guards to bring them in, or throw the drugs from the outside,” he said.

Iral admitted it was difficult to monitor the entry of contraband due to the lack of jail personnel and an overcrowded jail population.

The Cebu City Jail, designed for 600 inmates, has more than five times the number of detainees at 3,089.

Congestion is also the problem of CPDRC, which has a capacity of 1,600 but houses over 3,000 inmates.

For his part, Calub said he was grateful to the police for conducting the greyhound operation.

“During my administration, I never promised that there will be no illegal drugs that will make it inside the city jail. People always find ways to do it,” he said in an interview.

“The BJMP never tolerates that. But to be honest, we have a hard time preventing contraband from coming in. We could not avoid that,” he added.

According to Calub, the city jail received an average of “500 to 1,000 visitors a day” but it only has two prison guards to search those entering the jail.

The relieved jail warden said that based on previous instances, female visitors would bring packs of illegal drugs and hide them in their private parts, adding that the current number of 100 jail guards assigned at the city jail is not enough to monitor every visitor and inmate.

“I’m willing to be relieved from my post and be investigated but let me first give three recommendations,” he said. “First, the government should give us an ideal facility. Second, there should be barriers in the visiting places so there would be no physical contact between the inmates and visitors.

Lastly, there should only be one person handling the BJMP and the Bureau of Corrections so we won’t be confused,” he added.

At the CPDRC, deputy warden Romeo Manansala had earlier decided to no longer accept inmates from different cities and municipalities. “We now have 3,800 inmates. That’s too much already. We cannot help but close CPDRC for the time being,” he said.

The slow-paced resolution of cases in court, Manansala said, as well as the aggressive campaign of the police against illegal drugs were seen as reasons for the congestion.

CPDRC, home of the famous dancing inmates, is managed by the Cebu provincial government, while the Cebu City Jail is under the supervision of the BJMP.

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TAGS: cash, Cebu, Cebu City jail, contraband, contrabands, drugs, jail, raid, TV

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