Manila jail warden sacked for perks enjoyed by inmates
MANILA, Philippines—One cell had a concealed air conditioner mounted on the toilet wall. Some prisoners had cellular phones and DVD players. Other inmates were in possession of “shabu,” or methamphetamine hydrochloride.
And when Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo saw footage taken by a hidden camera of the perks enjoyed by some of the inmates on Wednesday, he immediately fired the warden of the Manila City Jail annex in Bicutan, Taguig City.
“The warden has been relieved… and the entire team guarding the facility will be replaced at the soonest possible time,” Robredo said.
He said he decided to sack Chief Inspector Silas Laurio Jr., who assumed his post only in April, and to replace the rest of the jail personnel in the facility after the crew of a GMA-7 investigative program showed him footage of their discovery.
Robredo said the footage revealed “inmates possessing cell phones, DVD players and even having an air conditioner installation in a portion of one of the cells.” There are over 200 prisoners in the facility, which is adjacent to the Metro Manila District Jail.
“There was also footage of inmates possessing drugs and having a pot session,” he said in a text message. But contacted later by phone, Robredo said the inmates were not caught sniffing drugs but the sachets were found in their possession.
He said he could not imagine how the air conditioner was sneaked into the facility and how it was installed, considering that the cell was not enclosed.
“They probably installed curtains” to insulate the cell, Robredo said in a phone interview.
Robredo could not say how many cells and inmates enjoyed the privileges, adding that he guessed a drug operator was behind it. “He had a phone, so obviously he could reach his contacts outside,” he said without naming anyone.
Robredo said he instructed the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to conduct an immediate surprise inspection of the facility led by BJMP’s deputy chief for administration Diony Mamaril.
“The air conditioner was spotted and taken away and cell phones and DVD players were confiscated” after the inspection, Robredo said.
He said cases would be filed against the erring jail officers. Laurio will be replaced by Superintendent Nestor Velasquez.
Robredo said that while he was not that shocked by the discovery of the privileges, he was alarmed that such glaring violations by the jail officers were being committed.
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