Priest faces sanction for unwittingly bringing cigarettes into Bohol District Jail
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — The chaplain of the Bohol District Jail (BDJ) in Barangay Cabawan, Tagbilaran City is facing sanction after he unwittingly brought in cigarettes and dried tobacco leaves, which are banned inside the facility.
Fr. James Darunday would not be allowed to hold Mass and other ministry works at the BDJ pending investigation, Chief Insp. Felipe Montejo, jail warden, said on Monday.
“I am waiting for the final results of the investigation of the disciplinary board,” Montejo said.
Darunday, who has been BDJ chaplain for seven years, said that a woman from Barangay Baang in Catigbian town approached him before heading to the facility to officiate the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday for BDJ’s 949 inmates.
The woman asked the priest to give a red plastic container of biscuits to her husband who was detained for drug-related charges.
Darunday warned her that the container would be inspected by jail personnel. The woman assured the priest that it only contained food.
He took the word of the woman and didn’t check the contents of the container.
When Darunday arrived at BDJ, he endorsed the container to the guards for inspection while he proceeded to celebrate Mass.
After the Mass, he was called by Montejo who told him that the container had 50 packs of cigarettes and 93 dried tobacco leaves hidden under a few pieces of biscuits.
According to Montejo, smoking and possession of tobacco in any form by prison inmates is banned inside the facility.
BDJ officials have been implementing stringent security measures inside the facility to prevent smuggling of any contraband.
Last week, illegal drugs and improvised bladed weapons were among the contrabands seized during a surprise inspection inside the facility.
While Darunday was surprised that he was used to smuggle cigarettes inside the facility, he didn’t regret helping the woman.
“Maluoy ko sa mga piniriso,” said Darunday.
[I pity the inmates.] /atm
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