South Cotabato

Junkies continue to outsmart South Cotabato jailers

Rommel Rebollido

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Junkies continue to outsmart South Cotabato jailers

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

South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center

Drug abuse among inmates continues to be a persistent problem at the South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center, and despite getting tip-offs, authorities are unable to stop the flow of contraband

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – A jail is one of the few places where it would be hard for anyone to get his hands on illegal substances, but apparently not in a prison facility in South Cotabato where the drug problem has become serious.

Substance abuse among inmates continues to be a persistent problem at the provincial government-run South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center (SCRDC), and despite getting tip-offs about the drugs, prison authorities have been unable to stop the flow of the contraband. 

Nine of 33 inmates tested positive for illegal drug use in another surprise drug test on Monday, February 20, raising concerns about how prohibited drugs are finding their way inside the prison walls.

The SCRDC has long been infamous for the different methods used to sneak drugs inside the jail, such as hiding them in visitors’ slippers, inmates’ wives’ private parts, throwing them over jail fences, and hiding them inside canned goods.

The drug-positive inmates were all men from Cell No. 21, which is known for inmates who use drugs. 

Four of them had recently had visits, and two had already tested positive in an earlier drug test. 

Jail authorities immediately searched for contraband, finding improvised weapons, cellphones, and more drugs. Some inmates yielded shabu (meth).

Jail warden Lory Celeste said they were investigating how the recent drugs were sneaked into the facility, including the possibility that jail guards connived.

The warden has previously raised suspicions about the guards’ possible involvement in smuggling drugs into the prison.

In early February, six inmates tested positive for drug use, and three inmates admitted to using drugs before the test.

Jail visits were canceled after the February 1 drug test, but they have since resumed, with no word from jail authorities on how the drugs were brought inside the facility.

South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. has ordered an investigation into reports that some guards were involved in the illegal drug activities in the prison facility.

Tamayo warned that any guard found guilty of conniving with inmates would face dismissal. –

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