Drug test surprises BJMP officials on new jail chief’s first day

Rambo Talabong
Drug test surprises BJMP officials on new jail chief’s first day
BJMP officials undergo on-the-spot drug test on Day 1 of their new officer-in-charge Allan Iral, who used to head the Davao City Jail

MANILA, Philippines – Just a day after he was named as the new Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) officer-in-charge, Chief Superintendent Allan Iral ordered a surprise drug test of his command group and officials on Thursday, March 28.

BJMP regional directors and division chiefs were only advised that they would have a management conference for Iral’s first day, but they were surprised to be told that they would undergo a drug test.

One by one, the officials underwent a urine drug test facilitated by the BJMP Health Service, which is accredited by the Department of Health. Standing in front of the line was Iral himself.

He was only keeping true to his word the day before. When he was named BJMP chief by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, he said: “The order of the day is to ensure that all BJMP offices and jail units are drug- and corruption-free.”

JUST A MEETING? BJMP officials gather at their national headquarters only informed of a meeting with their new officer-in-charge Allan Iral. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Dapat lahat kami magpapa-drug test para magkaron kami ng moral ascendancy sa mga tao namin sa baba na sumusunod sa ginagawa namin na suportahan ang  programa ng pangulo para mailins ang mga hanay namin,” Iral said in a press briefing after his testing.

(We should all undergo a drug test so that we have the moral ascendancy over our personnel below to follow what we did, and to support the program of the President to clean our ranks.)

Iral was a former Davao City and Davao Region jail chief, working with President Rodrigo Duterte back when the latter was a mayor. Before assuming the top post, Iral was the BJMP’s No. 2 man—its deputy chief for administration.

Iral said the drug test is “not new” for them. They conduct regular drug testing for all personnel, which has led to the dismissal of many of their corrupt and drug-linked jail officers.

The new OIC said more surprise drug tests will follow in the regional and provincial jails, which will then be followed by city and municipal jails. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.