WHY did inspectors find the tools needed to sniff shabu but not the illegal drug itself? Was there a leak?
Scattered amid human waste in garbage bags were small plastic sachets, lighters, tooters and other tools needed to use shabu in the Cebu City Jail’s male dormitory yesterday.
This means that the place “is not a drug-free” facility for arrested criminals and suspects, and that “drugs can penetrate and have been used here recently,” said an official of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) 7.
“We can say that our jails are not drug-free because naa’y traces man nga nakasulod gyod ang drugas pinaagi sa tooter ug uban pang (we found traces that suggest there is drug consumption here such as tooters and other) drug paraphernalia,” said Chief Supt. Allan Iral, director of the BJMP 7.
The BJMP, with the help of police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 agents, simultaneously checked the detention cells of the three largest jails in Cebu at 5:20 a.m. yesterday.
They brought dogs trained to identify the smell of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, when they implemented Oplan Galugad, an operation aimed at flushing illegal drugs out of detention facilities.
They found no shabu, nubain or cocaine in the city jails of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
They found a roll of what appeared to be marijuana in Mandaue and a plastic sachet with shabu residue and a syringe in Lapu-Lapu.
In Cebu City, the search teams also found nine television sets, refrigerators and DVD players in separate cells. These are banned in jails as they consume electricity and drive up operating costs, according to Iral.
Five cell phones were also found and confiscated. Iral maintained that cell phones are strictly prohibited in cells as these could be used for illegal drug transactions with people from the outside.
“More than 50 percent of the inmates are facing drug-related offenses, so we have to be strict. Way cell phone, dapat way connection sa gawas (They should not have phones or any connections with people from the outside),” he said.
Iral suspected there may have been leaks before they started the operation, which, he said, was discreetly made known only to participating agencies and some journalists.
When they rummaged through the garbage bags, the operatives found human waste in them, apparently placed there to discourage inspectors from continuing their search.
“Ang mga inmates nato kahibawo na gyud sa mahitabo (The inmates seemed to have known what would happen next),” he said.
Iral, however, admitted it would be hard to pinpoint who leaked the information.
The Bureau of Fire Protection 7 brought a fire truck to the area to prepare for possible emergency cases.
Before the “galugad” (a Filipino word that means “exploration”) started, jail guards roused the inmates from their beds and mats, and frisked them.
The guards gathered all the 2,717 male inmates, most of whom were dressed in yellow shirts, on the basketball court, guarded by police operatives.
The PDEA 7 only has three drug-detecting dogs, so they were able to send only one to each of the three detention facilities yesterday.
The lone trained K9 of the BJMP 7 helped in the Cebu City Jail.
After the simultaneous inspections, Iral urged the jail wardens to do their own random inspections and impose disciplinary actions against those who would err.
Supt. Johnson Calub, jail warden, said he and his officers are now identifying owners of the confiscated contraband in the Cebu City Jail.
“If they are found guilty, we have a disciplinary board here, so they may be banned from entertaining a visitor for a certain number of months, among other disciplinary actions,” he said.
He admitted having a list of frequent jail visitors whom his operatives suspected of being drug couriers.
No criminal complaint will be filed against anyone from the inmates, even those whose bed or mat was found with drug paraphernalia, an offense otherwise punishable by the law, because the contraband were seized while the owner was away.
The surprise inspection was in response to an instruction from the Department of Interior and Local Government to all regional offices of the BJMP.
Other jails in Cebu will soon be inspected, Iral said, as the synchronized election approaches.
The PDEA 7 took custody of the phones, which will be checked to see if these had been used for the illegal drug trade.
Iral said he received intelligence information that a computer was being used by some inmates to log on to their social media accounts. He wondered why they found no complete computer set during the inspection.
In Mandaue City, Jail Warden Gil Inopia Jr. said there was no significant contraband confiscated from the detainees, except for some sharp objects the inmates used to cut their food when cooking.
These improvised objects were made from nails, spoons and tin cans.
But a roll of what appeared to be marijuana was found.
Inopia said that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) personnel brought this with them for verification.
At least 35 detention cells were checked by the PDEA, Mandaue City Police Office and Mandaue City Jail personnel.
The City Jail has a capacity of 119 inmates. However, it housed 1,252 inmates as of yesterday.
In Lapu-Lapu City Jail, authorities found a plastic sachet with shabu residue, a syringe, a SIM card and a memory card.
Just like in Mandaue City Jail, no deadly weapons were recovered in the detention cells.
Jail warden Dennis Aliño said they have been implementing tight security during visiting hours so that items that are not allowed inside the city jail will be confiscated.
Lapu-Lapu jail has a total of 1,358 detainees as of Jan. 31 this year.
Of this, 780 or nearly 58 percent are detained for drug-related cases.