Drug suspects congest the Tagbilaran City Rehabilitation Center (TCRC), composing more than 80 percent of the inmate population.
Jail Senior Insp. Mark Anthony Omega said the inmate population at the TCRC already reached over 420 which is about 300 percent beyond its capacity.
The city jail facility only has 12 cells which can accommodate just around 140 inmates.
“More than 80 percent of the inmates are facing drug cases. They compose the bigger chunk of the congestion rate,” according to Omega.
To address this, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) is constructing two buildings beside the existing jail facility.
The BJMP national headquarter allocated P16 million for the construction of the two two-storey buildings that will have 10 cells each.
The local government donated the lot where the buildings are being constructed.
Omega said the original plan was to construct one building that is four-storey, but it was revised to make it two two-storey buildings.
He explained that this is to make the facility earthquake-proof, considering that Bohol is prone to earthquake.
The construction started in November and is estimated to be finished in one year, but the contractor targets to shorten the completion timetable to six months.
“We are thankful that the construction of the new buildings at the left side of existing facility has already started. It would help reduce the decongestion rate at the TCRC,” Omega said.
Meanwhile, Omega makes sure tight security measures are being observed at all times to intercept any contraband that visitors might attempt to sneak into the facility.
Omega said he constantly advised the jail guards never to underestimate the creative minds of anybody from outside the facility who intend to sneak in any kind of contrabands.
There are various means that would come into their minds, according to Omega.
So far, no illegal drugs had been confiscated, so far this year, in the number of greyhound operations and other joint operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Omega said they conduct a regular inspection of the belongings of the inmates inside the cells and there has also been no cigarette found.
What had been found during greyhound operations and inspection on the visitors were tobacco leaves.
They intercept the contraband at the gate and it could be the reason why no cigarette had been found in the past operations.
He said it was only on November 30 that they found a noticeable volume of tobacco leaves.
They found the tobacco leaves being sandwiched between two sheets of plywood.
The jail guards found 196 tobacco leaves when they searched the belongings of visitors of inmates on that day.
However, the courier managed to flee when he hurriedly ran, leaving the plywood behind, when jail guards started inspecting the plywood that he brought.
Omega said an inmate had requested someone from outside the facility to buy sheets of plywood which could be used for the repair of the comfort room inside their cell.
The jail investigators already endorsed the incident to the BJMP disciplinary board for determination of the appropriate sanction for the concerned inmate.
“That was the first time that a visitor was caught attempting to sneak a considerable volume of tobacco leaves into the facility. In previous instances, we would only find two to three leaves of tobacco. We suspected that if the visitor succeeded, the concerned inmate might have started a business inside the facility,” according to Omega.
Based on the instances in the past, the inmates would slice one tobacco leaf into more than 20 cuts and each would be sold at P20, Omega said.
“If, indeed, the inmate intended to make a business out of it, he could make P500 for each leaf then,” Omega added.