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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Briones: Looking after its own

IS IT me, or is the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) treating officials of the Cebu City Jail with kid gloves?

It may have relieved Supt. Johnson Calub as Cebu City Jail warden and replaced him with Supt. Jessie Calumpang, but it appointed the former as assistant regional director for operations of the BJMP 7.

Not exactly a chastisement, considering that under his watch some P4,653,400 in cash, 105.4 grams of suspected shabu and various banned appliances like flat-screen TVs, laptops and other what-nots were discovered inside the facility during a surprise raid past midnight last Saturday.

As for the 28 senior jail officials, who were relieved with Calub, what happened to them? The last time I heard they were supposed to be transferred to other regions. But I was hoping they'd stay put until their names are cleared.

After all, there have been many allegations following the weekend operation.

For starters, BJMP 7 Director Chief Supt. Allan Sullano Iral received a tip that a jail official had received a weekly payola of P3,000 from each of the 36 brigadas, or groups of inmates. That translates to P108,000 a week.

And what about the four jail officers who allegedly facilitated the entry of shabu and appliances inside?

Apparently Iral already knows who they are, but he won't divulge their names because they are under investigation.

I had to give it to Calub. When the sh-t hit the fan, so to speak, he was the picture of cool under pressure.

“During my administration, I did not really make an assurance that the illegal drugs in the jail would be eradicated, considering that there are many ways that it can get in,” he told reporters after he received news of his transfer.

What does that statement tell you? Okay, given that there are not enough personnel to secure the overcrowded facility that was built to accommodate 600 inmates but actually holds more than 3,000, and that it reportedly only has two jail guards to inspect the hundreds of visitors daily, Calub cannot just wash his hands of the matter.

Because that was what it exactly looked like.

It wasn't like the illegal drug trade inside the jail happened overnight. It didn't. In fact, if it wasn't for Antonio (real name withheld), a newly released inmate who squealed to authorities last month, things would probably still be business-as-usual inside the Cebu City Jail.

It was Antonio who told police that drug users visited makeshift rooms in prison so they could have a pot session.

And what was Calub trying to do when he told Iral that there were lawyers who had visited the city jail and asked for the money to be returned to their detained clients?

Anyway, I think Calub and the 28 senior jail officials got off really easily. Heck, Calub's new appointment even seems like a promotion.

One thing has been made to me clear in the past few days, the BJMP looks after its own.
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