‘HIGH RISK INMATE’

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Jhunnex Napallacan June 23,2016 - 11:24 PM
(CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

(CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

As Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro began spilling the beans on what the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) now described as a major drug syndicate operating in and out of Cebu, security around him has likewise tightened, even while he is already in jail.

Alvaro, tagged as Cebu’s number one drug lord, was committed yesterday to the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City, and was immediately labelled as a “high risk inmate” and placed in isolation.

Security around Alvaro was so tight that even law enforcers from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the NBI could not get near him without going through the necessary security checks.

The window in his isolation cell was likewise covered to ensure that a sniper or anyone cannot hit him from the outside, said Marco Toral, the Capitol consultant on jail management who oversees the operation of the province-run CPDRC.

Already, Alvaro has begun revealing “several” names of high-profile individuals who are purportedly connected to the illegal drug syndicate, and was described by NBI-Bohol head Rennan Augustus Oliva as being very “cooperative and forthright” in his testimonies.

“We got the operational information: source of drugs, pipeline going into our areas, and the actors in their syndicate. His revelations are important considering that he’s an insider. His surrender was really a big help to us,” Oliva said.

Alvaro, who surrendered to the NBI in Bohol early this week, “mentioned names” and “his local connections,” added NBI 7 director Jose Justo Yap. “But we can’t disclose them to you for now. We don’t accept these revelations hook, line, and sinker. They need to be validated,” he added.

However, he said, the public would soon find out who were these personalities.

“Anyway, you’ll know soon. Kung sino ang ma-hit, yon na yon. (Whoever we will go after in the coming days, that’s them),” he added in a press conference at his office before they turned over Alvaro to CPDRC.

Judge Mercedita Dadole-Ygnacio of the Regional Trial Court Branch 28 in Mandaue City signed the commitment order of Alvaro to the provincial jail in behalf of Judge Jerry Dicdican of the Danao City trial court who is currently on leave.

Dicdican issued the arrest warrant against the suspected drug lord for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

Bullet-proof vest

Wearing a bullet-proof vest over his polo shirt, Alvaro was presented before Ygnacio at the Mandaue City Hall of Justice past 1 p.m., and was brought to the CPDRC under close security two hours later.

He was placed in a detention cell good for 28 inmates, but no one, except his lawyer Jonah John Ungab, would be allowed to visit him, at least in the next 30 days.

But even Ungab could not go near his cell. They will be allowed to confer at the jail’s administrative office only, said Toral.

The number one drug personality in the province of Cebu will undergo solitary confinement under constant monitoring of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera.

“We consider him a high risk inmate due to the nature of his case. We need to isolate him,” said Toral.

Alvaro’s detention cell, located at the female ward of CPDRC and near the office of Toral, is secured by at least three jail guards, including a former member of the Philippine Marines, who will take turns in guarding outside his cell round the clock. .

The guards will stay in front of the cell and no other inmates will be allowed to go near his cell. Alvaro will not also be allowed to go outside his cell, unlike other prisoners who can exercise and enjoy sunning at the quadrangle. His cell will remain padlocked all the time.

His cell has a comfort room. A pail is also provided for taking a bath. He will be provided with a blanket and mat for his bed made of plywood.

Alvaro will be given food similar to the food ration given to inmates, but it will be delivered to his cell. No food from the outside will be allowed. He will also be provided with the orange prisoner’s uniform.

Alvaro refused to give any statement to the media and hid his face with a shawl most of the time.

Toral said they would allow Alvaro’s immediate family — his parents, wife, and children — to visit him after a month but must present their identification cards at the entrance gate.

“We have about 3,000 inmates here. We don’t know for now if he has friends or enemies here. But I could assure you of his safety,” he told reporters.

No-nonsense

Oliva, to whom Alvaro surrendered last Tuesday, said that while Alvaro did not execute any extra-judicial affidavit to make formal his revelations, his verbal testimonies were enough for them to get a clear picture of the illegal drug trade in Cebu, Bohol, and Manila — where the suspect operated.

He said they are validating Alvaro’s revelations and won’t waste time to follow them up.

“Time is of the essence here. We’re afraid our targets will disappear after learning that Barok surrendered. We have to work immediately; otherwise, the information we got from him would be useless,” Oliva said.

But the NBI would not be relying on Alvaro’s revelations alone.

Oliva said they got information from other sources whom he refused to identify.

“The source of information is not only him. What he says is validated by other information. And the fight against illegal drugs, I tell you, is no-nonsense,” he said.

Discreet investigation

At around 9 a.m. yesterday, Supt. Rex Derilo, chief of the Police Regional Intelligence Division in Central Visayas, went to the NBI 7 headquarters which was heavily guarded by NBI operatives carrying long firearms.

Everyone who entered the NBI 7 headquarters, including Derilo, was frisked.

Derilo told reporters who waited outside the gate of the NBI 7 that the Police Regional Office (PRO 7) just to coordinate with the NBI as a matter of procedure.

“That’s a normal law enforcement coordination. Nothing much,” he said.

Yap later told reporters that Derilo requested for an “exchange of information” between the bureau and the police.

“They would like to know some information (relayed to us by Alvaro) so we could jointly operate against those involved in the illegal drug trade based on Barok’s revelations,” Yap said.

“If we’re concerned about who Barok’s protectors are, the PNP 7 are also interested so they could act appropriately,” he added.

NBI 7 Assistant Director Ernesto Macabare was hoping people would understand why the bureau has been discreet about their investigation.

“I’m sorry we can’t disclose many things at this point in time. We don’t want to jeopardize the investigation as well as our future operations,” he said.

Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, PRO 7 director, said not every word from Alvaro must be given credence.

“The statements come from a suspected pusher or drug dealer. Not all of his revelations are reliable. There are information that we must be cautious about. They should be validated,” he said in a separate press conference at the PRO 7 yesterday.

He said coordination between the different law enforcement units is necessary to have a unified operation against illegal drugs.

Comendador said he received information that there are some police officers who serve as “protectors” of illegal drug groups and that they are looking into it.

“As much as possible, we will try to give those policemen an opportunity to explain. As you know, drug syndicates are difficult enemies. They accused our policemen of this or that, and it’s unfair,” he said.

Comendador said the campaign against illegal drugs was serious and they hoped to cripple the operations of syndicates.

He added he created a committee to investigate and identify the properties of suspected drug lords Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria, Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, and Alvaro.

Comendador said the properties of the three suspected drug personalities should be seized in favor of the government. And although Secretaria and Diaz were dead, he believed the government can still confiscate their properties.

Secretaria was killed by Cebu policemen on Banacon Island in Bohol last May 28 while Diaz — Central Visayas’ top drug personality — was gunned down by police in Las Piñas City last June 17.

Alvaro surrendered to the NBI-Bohol last Tuesday for fear that he too might get killed./with UP Cebu Intern Amy A. Macalinao

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TAGS: Alvaro Barok Alvaro, CCTV, Cebu, Cebu City, CPDRC, drug lord, drugs, inmate, Jaguar, NBI, prison

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