But ‘No’, BJMP-7 Chief says: Inmates want money back
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - August 15, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Inmates of the Cebu City Jail are demanding the return of the money seized du-ring the early morning raid the other day, but the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said they are returning none of it as they are convinced it is all drug money.

Jail Chief Superintendent Allan Iral, regional director of the BJMP, told The FREEMAN yesterday that city jail warden Johnson Calub even called him informing that a lawyer of one of the inmates appeared before him Saturday afternoon, hours after the raid was conducted, and demanded the return of P200,000.

The lawyer claimed that the P200,000 was the proceeds from his client's sale of a vehicle.

A total of P4,653,400 was found during the raid, but Iral stood firm not to return any of it because it is under investigation.

"We will not return. We will prove that the money was proceeds of the illegal drugs," he said.

Calub earlier said the money came from several cooperatives being run in the jail. He said the money could have reached millions because the cooperative that manages that canteen has also not bought supplies yet. He also said the inmates have an emergency fund for whenever any of them needs medicines or hospitalization.

Aside from the cash, the operatives of the Police Regional Office-7, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency -7, Special Weapons and Tactics, Regional Public Safety Battalion-7, and the Philippine Coast Guard's K9 Unit recovered 48 sachets of shabu, weighing approximately 70 grams and estimated at worth P240,000. They also found drug paraphernalia, bladed weapons, cellular phones, and other gadgets from inmates of the Cebu City Jail.

The sachets were recovered from the possessions of Mark Entece, Marlon Ferolino, and Jerome Miñoza.

Iral said they will wait for the result of the examination by the PDEA-7. If the sachets are proven to contain shabu, the three will be charged for possession of illegal drugs before the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office.

Visitation restored

On Saturday afternoon, Iral said Calub allowed the visitation privileges of the inmates to resume to prevent them from resorting to a noise barrage.

The visitation of inmates falls Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

If the inmates go on with a noise barrage despite the lifting of the suspension of visitation rights, Iral said he will recommend for the PNP to take over the security of the Cebu City Jail just like what the Special Action Forces are doing in taking over the security of the New Bilibid Prisons.

"The inmates were scared of the PNP because they have long firearms," he said.

New personnel coming

Fifty new BJMP recruits will be assigned to Region 7, Iral also said. However, the 50 personnel will be divided among the jails in the region considering it is not only the Cebu City Jail that lacks personnel.

Iral hopes that aside from the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the BJMP and the Bureau of Fire will also have a pay increase to attract more applicants.

He said one of the reasons why contraband is able to enter the jail is their lack of personnel. The Cebu City Jail only has 139 personnel to secure 3,089 inmates. The city jail was only built to house 600.

During Tuesdays and Thursdays an average of 500 to 700 people visit the jail, but on Saturdays and Sundays this swells to more than 1,000.

Iral said even with the congestion, he cannot defy the order of the court remanding inmates to the jail.

Iral also said the destruction of 12 shanties inside the jail has started. Some of the shanties started out as conjugal rooms but these were turned into inmates' quarters themselves because of jail congestion.

However, he said some of the shanties will again be used as conjugal rooms.

Reshuffling

Iral said a new warden will assume office on Tuesday. Calub will be relieved from his post while under investigation and will be assigned to the BJMP regional office while those jail guards who served in the city jail for four years and more, as well as those who have direct contacts with the inmates, will be reshuffled to other jails in Cebu.

The jail personnel assigned in the administration office will not be included in the investigation, Iral said, unless an inmate specifically points to someone as having knowledge or involvement in the drug trade in the jail.

Calub earlier expressed his willingness to be relieved from his post pending investigation.

Meanwhile, Police Regional Office-7 Director Noli Taliño suggested for an evaluation of the security system of the Cebu City Jail and the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center following the recovery of drugs inside the facilities last Saturday.

"There is a need to review the security system of both jails, bakit nakakalusot ang mga contrabands?" he said.

However, he said it is now the BJMP-7 that will  look into the matter, including the review process, since the agency supervises and mans the facility.

"Tumulong lang kami doon sa enforcement ng illegal drugs law sa loob ng kulungan and Superin-tendent Irral was very cooperative," he said. — with Michael Vencynth H. Braga (FREEMAN)

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