A SYNDICATE is running the illegal drug trade inside the Cebu City Jail, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Central Visayas has identified the personalities behind it, a PDEA official said.
“Makahurot sila’g usa ka kilo kada semana (They can dispose of a kilo of shabu per week),” said PDEA-Central Visayas Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz.
Supt. Jessie Calumpang, who hails from Negros, replaced Supt. Johnson Calub as the city jail warden yesterday morning, three days after a pre-dawn search confirmed the presence of illegal drugs, cash, and other contraband inside the prison.
Calumpang said he will destroy the private rooms, eliminate special treatment given to some inmates, limit the number of visitors, and conduct more surprise inspections.
“We will look into the lapses committed by our personnel and do our best to correct them,” he said.
Also yesterday, the acting warden of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) handed in his resignation, effective on Friday, Aug. 19.
Romeo Manansala left two formal recommendations with Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III: he asked that cell phone jammers be installed in prison and that dogs trained to sniff out drugs be made to screen all visitors.
Davide said he has created a task force that will manage the CPDRC, including its security, food supply, and health services.
Manansala will be assigned to the Capitol’s Civil Security Unit. “Nangita ta og ika-puli, but in the meantime nga wala pa, ako ang warden diha (We are looking for his replacement, but in the meantime, I will serve as the warden),” Davide said.
The search has highlighted problems in both jails that may have contributed to the illegal drug trade behind bars, like overcrowding and high visitor traffic.
Although it was built for 600 prisoners, the Cebu City Jail now houses 3,089 inmates and has about 120 Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) personnel to guard them.
Only two jail guards are assigned to inspect visitors.
“We have 500 to 1,000 visitors a day. One of the ways to control the entry of contraband is to limit the number of visitors so there will really be thorough inspections,” Supt. Calumpang said.
He said visitors should be frisked and inspected before leaving the jail to address the purported sale of illegal drugs behind bars.
Private vehicles will also be prohibited from entering the jail.
Calumpang, whom Calub replaced as the assistant regional director for operations, said that some inmates will be tapped for information about any illegal activity inside the jail. He also plans to place high-profile inmates in one area to easily monitor them.
“I know there are still good inmates out there who are willing to cooperate with us,” he said.
Calumpang also recommended the transfer of all jail guards and other personnel to cut possible ties with inmates.
“The longer jail guards are assigned in a facility, the higher the possibility that they’ve establish a close relationship with the inmates. Our jail guards may be requested by the inmates to bring in contraband. We have to stop that,” he said.
BJMP 7 Director Allan Iral has ordered the relief of Calub and 28 senior jail officers, after authorities found 105.4 grams of shabu and other contraband inside the Cebu City Jail last Saturday dawn.
Twenty-two new jail officers took oath in front of Iral yesterday.
According to the police, the patrons of illegal drugs behind bars are some of the inmates themselves and junkies who pretend to be visitors to get in.
For his part, PDEA’s Ruiz added he has received reports that illegal drugs and appliances were smuggled inside the jail through vehicles that go there to deliver food supply for the inmates.
Ruiz said he cannot believe that female visitors concealed sachets of shabu in their private parts.
“Naa na tay nakuha nga mga suspects who are responsible sa pagpasulod adtong mga kontrabando, pero I apologize kay premature pa kung atong nganlan (We have already identified some suspects who may have brought contraband inside, but it’s premature to name names),” he said.
He also said he couldn’t believe the P4.6 million in cash seized in a cell could have been earnings from a cooperative operating inside the prison.
“Proceeds to sa drugas kay kon asa nakuha ang drugs didto pud ang mga kuwarta nakuha. So, unsa may ipasabot ana? Sus, bisan pag napulo ka tuig nga halin sa pagkaon diha dili to kaabot og milyon (Those were illegal drug proceeds. The cash was found in the same place where the drugs were found. What does that tell you? Even if the inmates held on to the canteen earnings for 10 years, they wouldn’t make even a million),” he said.
As for Manansala’s recommendations, Governor Davide said in a separate interview that the Capitol might rent a trained dog and acquire a jammer.
Davide said the conjugal rooms were demolished, and the parked car and gamecocks were no longer allowed inside the compound.
He said that Manansala will remain at the Capitol because his testimony is needed in some cases pending before the committee on discipline and investigation.
“I will issue an executive order creating a task force that will oversee the management of CPDRC, from health concerns to visits, and all aspects of jail management,” Davide said.
He said he remains open to letting the BJMP manage the provincial jail, but has yet to meet with Director Iral.
“Ato una limpiyohon una sabotan ang turnover(Let’s clean up the jail first, then talk about a possible turnover),” said the governor.