ON AVERAGE, the Mandaue City Jail releases 15 detainees every day. Ninety percent of them are still facing drug charges.
That is why the jail informs the local police so they can monitor these persons, said Supt. Jessie Calumpang, jail warden.
Officials of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) earlier said they received reports drug personalities were bailing out these detainees to use them in illegal activities. Some would end up as hired guns to kill candidates in the midterm elections in May, he said.
Calumpang said more detainees, even those involved in illegal drugs, had been allowed to post bail since the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the adoption of a framework for plea bargaining in drug cases.
Majority of those released were charged with violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. They were caught either using drugs or carrying drug-sniffing paraphernalia, he said.
The jail official clarified they could not determine who among those released would be used as hitmen.
However, he said they continued to submit the list of released detainees to local police so these persons could be monitored.
They would be placed under surveillance in case they decided to return to their illegal activities, said Supt. Ryan Devaras, MCPO deputy director for operations.
Devaras said they also used the list from the city jail for profiling.
Meanwhile, Calumpang said some of the detainees refused to post bail even though their cases were bailable.
“Some call their lawyers to tell them not to apply for bail even though they are allowed by the court. Some of them, particularly those involved in illegal drugs, refuse to leave the jail, as they feel they are safer here than outside,” Calumpang told Superbalita Cebu.
He said 1,600 of the city jail’s 2,000 inmates were involved in illegal drugs. Some 1,300 had applied for a plea bargain.
This was one way to decongest the facility, he said.
The SC en banc, in an April 2018 notice, ordered that those caught in possession of small quantities of illegal drugs (4.99 grams for shabu, opium, morphine, heroin and cocaine and less than 300 grams for marijuana) would be allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense of possession of paraphernalia.
The penalty for possession of paraphernalia is six months to four years in jail.
In the past, anyone caught carrying small quantities of illegal drugs faced 12 to 20 years in prison. (From FMD of SuperBalita Cebu, JKV)