NARCO-JAILS: Probe on collusion between drug peddlers, BJMP personnel

BUREAU of Jail Management and Penology 6 (BJMP-6) personnel frisk inmates of the Iloilo District Jail in Pototan, Iloilo during a greyhound inspection morning of Oct 10, 2017. (Photo courtesy of RMN-Iloilo)

ILLEGAL drugs, particularly shabu, could not have entered jail facilities by sheer happenstance. It’s a product of planning.

And yes, collusion between jail personnel and drug peddlers is highly possible, according to Senior Superintendent Rex Delarmente, regional director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 6 (BJMP-6).

Delarmente’s statement came in the heels of the result of a random drug test conducted on some inmates of the Iloilo District Jail at Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo.

The drug test was conducted after the new IDJ warden, Superintendent John Montero, took over the jail facility on Oct. 1, 2017.

Tested positive for illegal drug use were Marque “Boyet” Acap, Jr., Randy Legazpi, Jovern Abantao, and Tomas Gan.

“We need to know the source. We need to know the lapses in guarding the facility,” Delarmente said.

How the illegal drugs entered would be subject of a thorough investigation, he added.

“We want to know who are involved in these activities,” Delarmente said.

When asked how they would go about with the probe, he claimed they would get testimonies from the inmates themselves.

Mobile phones seized during greyhound operations would also be investigated.

Delarmente said they are not discounting the possibility that some jail personnel also act as illegal drug courier.

Other personnel may have been used to sneak in drugs for the inmates’ use.

“It is also possible that illegal drugs were thrown over the perimeter fence or passed through the searching process,” he added.

For now, Delarmente said they don’t have the names of personnel who might be colluding with inmates in shabu smuggling and trading.

Meanwhile, Delarmente said they received instructions from acting BJMP chief Deogracias Tapayan to cleanse jail facilities of illegal drugs.

He said they will conduct intensive greyhound operations in all jail facilities all over the region.

Greyhound refers to surprise inspection of jail cells.

Part of the cleansing efforts would be coordinating to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 6 (PDEA-6) and the Philippine National Police.

“I have also sent a memorandum to limit the number of visitors and the time they should spend inside the jail,” Delarmente said.

If there are a lot of visitors, they could not be thoroughly checked, he added.

But the time spent and the number of visitors allowed would be on a case-to-case basis.

“There are jails that don’t have a number of detainees. So, they could be allowed more visitors and longer time of stay,” he added.

The BJMP-6 will also be coordinating with PDEA on the mechanics on how to declare a jail as drug-free.

 

HIGH-PROFILE INMATES

Earlier, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) said prison bars did not impede inmates facing illegal drug charges to continue their illicit trade.

Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, Iloilo police chief, said this is one justification for the need to install signal jammers inside the IDJ.

Tayaba said high-profile inmates involved in drugs continue to be in touch with their cohorts outside prison.

Some high-profile inmates incarcerated at IDJ are Rolando Torpio, Jesus Espinosa, Jr., and father and son Marque Acap, Sr and Marque Acap, Jr.

On Oct. 1, an inspection at IDJ prison cells yielded eight sachets of shabu and an ice pick.

Superintendent Jhon Montero, the newly-installed IDJ warden, said the contrabands were found at cell No. 51 where 50-year-old drug suspect Acap Sr. was assigned.

The younger Acap tested positive for illegal drug use.

The Acaps, together with their three alleged cohorts, were collared in a police operation in Oton, Iloilo on Sept. 21, 2016.

Father and son were nabbed along with Avelino Revilla, 39,  of Lapuz Norte, La Paz, Iloilo City; Ryan Patrick Garcia, 29, of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Arevalo, Iloilo City; and Alexander Animas, 33, Barangay Mohon, Arevalo, Iloilo City.

Aside from illegal drugs, firearms and a grenade were also seized from their possession.

Authorities believe that the compound where the Acaps lived may have been used as “shabu tiangge” or retail store.

Marque Sr., who was a parolee, is believed to be a trusted ally of the late Melvin Odicta Sr., a PDEA-identified drug lord who was slain in Aklan on Aug 29, 2016.

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