SECTIONS
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Briones: Culpability

FORMER Cebu City Jail warden Johnson Calub and 28 senior jail guards will not be reporting to work today.

Calub might even face an administrative case if there’s proof he was “remiss in his duty.” Meanwhile, a team of investigators from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 7 Regional Investigation and Prosecution Division will subject the jail officers to an inquiry if there is enough basis to include them.

Hold on. Is this related to the discovery of P4,653,400 in cash, illegal drugs and appliances inside the facility? So what’s with the “if he was ‘remiss in his duty’” and “if there is enough basis to include them?”

You mean there’s a slight chance they will not be held liable for that major boo-boo?

First and foremost, it’s a prison. Security is supposed to be tight.

In fact, back in 2000, a woman who visited her husband, who was behind bars for drugs, was caught with a pack of shabu after she was frisked by the guards. It fell from her waist while she was removing her shorts for the routine checkup. Of course, she denied the allegation.

Also that year, another woman visiting her husband ended up in jail after authorities seized three packs of shabu from her. The contraband was carefully wrapped in a handkerchief she was clutching in her hand while she was being frisked.

In 2006, a 25-year-old woman was arrested for trying to smuggle in half a gram of “high-grade” shabu inside the jail by hiding it inside her panties.

She had inserted the pack of shabu between the fabrics of her underwear and stitched them together so it would not fall. However, the protrusion was noticed and she was asked to take off her underwear.

When jail guards ripped open the stitching, they found something wrapped in yellow plastic that was heavily scotch-taped. When they opened the pack, lo and behold, they found shabu inside.

These three incidents took place when the facility was still called the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center next to the I.T. Park.

Back then, a body search was standard practice inside the jail to discourage visitors and guests from bringing prohibited drugs and weapons.

I don’t know if this was stopped when the facility was transferred to Barangay Kalunasan. Because, how else would you explain the amount of shabu found last Saturday?

This prompted PDEA 7 Director Yogi Ruiz to remark it was evident that the supply of shabu inside is higher than it is outside. “They lack security,” Ruiz added.

Like, duh?! If inmates were able to smuggle in items that are not allowed inside the jail like laptops, flat-screen TVs, cellular phones and branded shoes, what more something that can be hidden inside a panty lining.

In fairness to Calub, he did say he recommended banning physical contact between inmates and their visitors. Why this was never implemented, I have no idea.

But no matter how you look at it, Calub and the jail’s personnel will have a hard time escaping culpability.
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