City, provincial jails compete for drug customers — PDEA
Are the jails competing for drug customers?
It would seem so, according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, who said they are now investigating the source of drugs in the two jails.
“Parehas ra na sila. Mag-isig kompetensyaay lang na sila (Both jails are competing in the sale of illegal drugs),” he said.
The Cebu City Jail and the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center are both located in Barangay Kalunasan, almost across each other.
CPDRC assistant jail warden Romeo Manansala himself admitted knowledge of illegal drugs smuggled inside the jail.
“Ang drugas, usahay naay makasud. Sigehan man namo og raid… Kahibaw naman si Gov ana (Drugs sometimes get in the jail. We always do the raid…The governor knows about it),” he told the media after his appearance before the Cebu Provincial Board session yesterday.
Customers pretend to be jail visitors in both detention facilities, buy drugs and use it inside the jail, incongruously to avoid arrest.
Police Regional Director Noli Taliño said the illegal drugs operation inside the jail is “alarming.”
“The information we received recently was that shabu was sold at a cheaper price inside the city jail because users feel safe inside. They don’t have to fear arrest,” Taliño said.
“From our informant alone, the city jail has become a place where illegal drugs were sold and where users and inmates sniffed shabu,” he added.
Five year trade
According to Ruiz, the provincial and city jails have been selling drugs for more than five years already.
Ruiz said if the warden was not aware about the drugs smuggled inside the jail, then his jail guards involved in the illegal trade must have kept him blind.
“If wala siya kahibaw, failure of intelligence niya as a jail warden (If he doesn’t know about it, he failed in his intelligence gathering as a jail warden),” he said.
Manansala said he identified seven jail guards whom he recommended to Gov. Hilario Davide III to be relieved and transferred outside the CPDRC for their alleged involvement in allowing contraband including gadgets inside the jail facility.
Provincial Board Member Edsel Galeos shared that when he was mayor of Argao town, inmates sent to CPDRC would come back addicted to drugs.
Manansala told reporters that in his 35 years of service as a jail official, he never found out where the drugs being smuggled to CPDRC came from.
Manansala revealed that an inmate named Allan Bastismo, 41, died at a public hospital and cause of death was cardiogenic shock related to cardio myopathy secondary to substance abuse.
When Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale asked him if this inmate died because of “sige’g hithit” (taking illegal drugs), Manansala was mum.
Magpale told reporters after the PB session that Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante has disclosed to them that drugs from their town are being sourced at the CPDRC.
Manansala was invited by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to answer questions raised on the management of the jail facility including the seeming complacency in the inspection of visitors entering the jail.
Manansala said he tasked the blue guards at the entrance of the jail to check the visitors but Magpale told Manansala “namakak ka (you are lying)” during the PB session.
Magpale said on many occasions she asked some persons to go inside the jail to check if they are being frisked or if the things they bring inside are being checked and they said no.
Magpale said she did this after the German consul approached her two months ago and raised the concern that a certain German national continued his cyber pornography business inside the jail.
“Nauwaw ko sa German consul kay wala tay gibuhat (I was embarrassed in front of the German consul because we did not do anything),” she said.
But Magpale’s investigation led to the discovery of other illegal activities inside the jail facility.
Manansala later disclosed that the German national Thomas Michael Ruhland bought the laptop from an inmate who was already released from the jail.
The vice governor also said former jail consultant Marco Toral rented out makeshift room for conjugal visits at P30 per hour.
Manansala said Toral himself admitted during an interview with radio broadcaster Lloyd Suarez that he allowed the rental of the conjugal rooms.
Manansala said it was also Toral who allowed a certain inmate named Jennifer Perigrino to raise three fighting cocks inside the jail and allowed her to park her car inside the facility.
He also claimed that Toral sold gadgets inside the facility. And during his birthday, he allowed the visitors to stay for five days – from Thursday to Monday.
But did Manansala do something to stop this, being the jail warden?
Manansala said he called Toral’s attention but the latter would not listen to him.
Toral tendered his resignation last week as jail consultant and could no longer be contacted for comment.
Police personnel cannot augment the jail guards at the penitentiaries.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of PRO-7, on Monday said the region doesn’t have enough policeman to assign personnel even at the Cebu City Jail alone.
“Hindi natin kaya kasi kulang din tayo ng personnel. (We can’t send policemen to search visitors at the Cebu City Jail),” he told reporters.
Taliño urged the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to conduct surprise inspections at any time to discourage inmates and visitors from bringing in illegal drugs and other contraband.
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