BACOLOD

Vice guv pushes probe into drug proliferation inside jail

NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer has called on authorities to conduct an investigation on allegations that a major drug syndicate is operating from inside the Negros Occidental District Jail (NODJ) in Barangay Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental.

"This should not be tolerated. I have called Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, provincial police director, and officials of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for a meeting on Monday to discuss this problem," Ferrer said.

This came after a drug suspect who was arrested on Friday, November 15, revealed that his drug operations were ordered by two inmates inside the NODJ.

A total of P7.3 million worth of substance believed to be shabu weighing more than one kilo was seized from Ronaldo Roquero Jr. of Talisay City, Negros Occidental at the South Capitol Road, Bacolod City, Friday evening.

Police Lieutenant Thurslie Castillo, head of the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU)-Negros Occidental, said Roquero can be considered a provincial level high-value target because of the big volume of drugs recovered from him.

The suspect told the police that the items were sourced from Manila and he was tasked to distribute it in Negros Occidental and in different areas of the province on orders of two inmates from the NODJ in Bago City, which he refused to identify.

Castillo said Roquero even linked alleged drug lord Michael Divinagracia in their illegal drug transactions, but did not elaborate further about his role.

Divinagracia, Silay City’s top drug personality, is still at large.

Ferrer said the pronouncement of the suspect that he is taking orders from someone in NODJ is "revealing."

"It means that jail officials in the NODJ are allowing inmates to use mobile phones," the vice governor said.

Ferrer said this information "should not be set aside because this is the first time that this happened in Negros Occidental. It should be a major cause of concern. Many persons should be held accountable for this."

“We need to identify who these people are and the BJMP should take measures against their operations especially that it happening inside a government facility,” he said.

Senior Inspector Norberto Miciano, NODJ warden, immediately conducted greyhound operation, following Roquero’s accusation linking two inmates inside the jail in the drug transaction.

Miciano said only one inmate identified by Roquero is currently inside the NODJ.

“He [PDL] was already isolated and was subjected for drug test which turned out negative. He was also temporarily not allowed to receive visitors while he is subjected for investigation,” he said.

The NODJ warden said they have not recovered any communication devices during the greyhound operation.

He said based on the visitor’s logbook, the Person Deprived of Liberty (PDL) had a visitor from Silay City in the past few days.

Miciano added that it will be part of their investigation to determine if Roquero is transacting with his visitors.

“We don’t tolerate contraband inside the facility and cellular phones are not allowed inside the jail,” he said.

Ferrer also said that while the big volume of illegal drugs were seized in Bacolod City, "for sure a big portion of it will be distributed outside the city."

“I thank our police for the continuing intensified campaign against illegal drugs in the province,” he said, adding that he is appealing for cooperation of the public.


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