South Cotabato

Jail warden blames corrupt guards for South Cotabato prison drug trade

Rommel Rebollido
Jail warden blames corrupt guards for South Cotabato prison drug trade

Prison authoritities and inmates during an inspection in a South Cotabato prison facility in this August 2021.

South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center

The rates are P3,500 for an analog phone and P5,000 for a smartphone, and from P10,000 to as much as P30,000 for illegal drugs, reveals the South Cotabato jail warden

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – At a prison facility in Koronadal City, inmates pay their jailers so they could sneak in mobile phones and illegal substances, authorities said on Thursday, October 6.

The rates are P3,500 for an analog phone and P5,000 for a smartphone, and from P10,000 to as much as P30,000 for illegal drugs, according to South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center (SCRDC) jail warden Lory Celeste.

Celeste disclosed this information during a news conference called following an investigation into the prison corruption.

South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. ordered the investigation into what he called information reaching him about the continuing substance abuse and drug trade in the provincial government-run facility.

Officials said the illegal activities and the corruption that come with them continued despite stricter measures and several arrests of prison guards.

Tamayo said he would see to it that corrupt jail personnel would be dismissed and brought to justice.

The capitol-owned prison facility in Koronadal, South Cotabato province’s capital city, has a population of about 1,500 inmates.

In late September, an inmate spilled the beans and alleged that a prison guard instructed him to bring two cigarette packs to SCRDC Cell No. 13.

Like mobile phones, smoking is prohibited inside the facility.

But the inmate said he saw what he thought was shabu (meth) when he opened one of the packs to get a cigarette stick.

The substance, he alleged, was concealed in the cigarettes.

He said he handed the cigarette packs to another inmate in Cell No. 13 and informed Celeste about it a day later.

Celeste said he had the jail guard disarmed and subjected to an ongoing investigation along with eight inmates.

The inmates, according to Celeste, tested positive for substance abuse.

The SCRDC has gained notoriety for having scalawag personnel.

In August last year, one of its off-duty female jail guards – 43-year-old Annie Grace Dizon-Langga – was arrested by narcotics agents from the city police during an entrapment.

Authorities alleged Langga sold P500 worth of shabu to an undercover cop.

That same year, narcotics agents also arrested the SCRDC’s cook, Dexter Rimando Imperial, for possession of P34,000 worth of shabu.

The arrests cost the two SCRDC personnel their job.

Celeste said inmates devised all sorts of ways to sneak illegal drugs into the facility.

For instance, he said, prison guards intercepted P200,000 worth of shabu in a package casually thrown over the fence, prompting officials to install closed-circuit television cameras around the jail premises.

The jail warden said informers who would provide more useful information about the specific cases of bribery would be rewarded with P10,000 each. – Rappler.com

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