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Absence of X-ray machine blamed for jail contraband

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - May 5, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Jail Warden Jose Abueva admitted the sneaking of contraband into the facility remains a “challenge” for them even amid the pandemic.

One of the factors, according to Abueva, why this remains a problem is because the city jail does not yet have a “technical capability for searching.”

“Atong searching capability, human lang. Wa tay X-ray. Dako gyud ang posibilidad nga bisan unsaon pa sa mga searchers nato, dako gyud ang posibilidad nga malutsan gyud ta,” he lamented.

“Continuous atong undertaking ana kay from time to time wa ta kabalo bombing ra man na (meaning, thrown over the fence). Kaning mga cellphones ilabay ni sila over the bakod, mga drugs ipang-bombing lang,” he added.

Abueva said illegal items have been found inside the facility despite the routine greyhound operations conducted.

“Sa pag-search gyud namo, di man gyud namo malikayan nga naay mga kontrabando nga mosulod sa atong facility, apil na ang cellphone. Mao bitaw nga from time to time mag-greyhound ta kay daghang mga ways (for them to sneak in contraband),” said Abueva.

He admitted that drugs and cellphones are still able to get their way into the jail despite earnest efforts to inspect visitors.

Those arrested in buy-bust operations would, in fact, often cite the city jail as among the source of illegal drugs.

Once they receive such reports, Abueva said they immediately take action.

“Kanang everytime naa mi ma-receive nga intel reports, amo gyud dayon na siyang aksyunan diretso kay aron mapadayon ang pag-(barred) sa mga kontrabando kay lisod kaayo kay ang technology karon para namo isa na siya ka threat sa security,” said Abueva.

What the jail management usually does, he added, is to conduct surprise greyhound which yields mostly cellular phones.

Just recently, the chief of Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group Visayas Field Unit (IMEG-VFU), Police Major Alejandro Batobalonos, revealed that he received death threats allegedly from an inmate inside the city jail.

The threat was posted on social and media and coursed through phone call.

Taking an action on these allegations, Abueva said a greyhound operation was conducted inside the cell of the inmate concerned. Subsequently, the inmate is now separated from other inmates pending investigation by the disciplinary board.

The warden said that the sneaking of phones may have become rampant after the visitation privileges have been suspended temporarily as precautionary measure against COVID-19.

To address this, Abueva said they are implementing an “electronic dalaw” in which inmates are given time to talk to their families through the use of technology. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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