Inmates go cold turkey after cigarette haul seized
CITY OF MALOLOS—Smokers among inmates of the Bulacan provincial jail here have been forced to go cold turkey when jail officials seized 141 reams of cigarettes that were about to be shipped inside the detention facility on Tuesday.
Tipped off about the shipment, officials raided the jail and confiscated sacks filled with cigarettes worth P57,000.
Fernando Villanueva, chief of the provincial civil security and jail management office (PCSJMO), turned over the haul to Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan police director.
PCSJMO personnel also arrested the men who delivered the cigarettes after one of them was found carrying a hand gun.
Pepito Plamenco, provincial jail warden, said the shipment was bought by inmates who sell cigarettes to fellow inmates, an enterprise that is allowed inside the jail. Now the inmates are asking the police to return the seized cigarettes, he said.
“For now, we smokers just grin and bear it. I hope this [misunderstanding] does not last long,” said an inmate.
Plamenco said there is no prohibition on cigarettes as they are not contraband. But because of an anti-smoking campaign being waged by the Bulacan government, entrepreneurs inside the jail have reduced their purchases to 150 reams, he said.
The provincial capitol compound, where the jail is, has been declared a no-smoking zone.
According to an Inquirer source, most of the jail’s 3,120 inmates smoke “to fight boredom.” Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon
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