Governor Jose Alvarez has ordered a probe on the granting of excessive privileges to a detainee at the provincial jail, and the imposition of strict regulations in the detention facility.
Gov. Alvarez’ order came in the wake of a claim made by an employee assigned at the facility that former rebel leader Gilbert Silagan has been operating a convenience store inside and enjoying various personal privileges.
The order was issued by Governor Alvarez’ office on January 14 to Jose Sany R. Rabago, the OIC warden, stating it is “in the exigency of public service and to improve the facilitation and operations of the Provincial Jail Management Division (PJMD)” and pending results of the probe.
Acting provincial information officer Caesar Sammy A. Magbanua said Thursday that Rabago is now in the process of implementing the order, particularly the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’ (BJMP) “Revised Policy on Jail Visitation and BJMP-manned Jails.”
“Kung hindi niya ma-i-implement agad ang order, syempre bilang OIC warden ay magkakaroon siya ng liability (If he is unable to implement the order immediately, as OIC warden, he will have a liability),” Magbanua said.
Nearly two weeks ago, rank-and-file employee Ryan A. Natividad of the PJMD exposed Silagan’s alleged special privileges and violations of regulations, claiming that the latter had issued a threat against him.
Natividad claimed Silagan has been holding unauthorized detainee assemblies inside the jail, has a big house in the facility compound, runs a sari-sari store with refrigerators and freezers, operates a 5-6 loan business for detainees, and whose wife still lives with him in the detention jail despite the acquittal of her case.
Magbanua said Alvarez has ordered Rabago to close all sari-sari stores individually and co-owned by the detainees in the annex and main building, remove all appliances found inside detention cells, thoroughly inspect all PJMD employees for security purposes, properly regulate the movements of all detainees, ban entry of private vehicles to facility premises, and prohibit personnel from posting any information regarding facilitation and operations of the jail facility in any social media platform.
He said Alvarez’ order will not cover cooperative-owned stores since their small-scale operations were approved by the PJMD.
The confiscated appliances from the detention cells, including Silagan’s, will be turned over to the OIC warden for inventory before they are deposited to the Provincial General Services Office (PGSO).
They will not include the televisions placed in designated areas at the PJMD. All other items that will not be surrendered, he pointed out, will be considered as “illegal contrabands.”
“Ini-implement na ng OIC warden ‘yong order, pinapa-close na ‘yong mga sari-sari stores. ‘Yong mga appliances pinatatanggal kasi bawal ‘yon lalo na’t probinsya ang nagbabayad ng ilaw,” he said to Palawan News in a phone interview.
(The order is now being implemented by the OIC warden and the closure of the sari-sari stores. The appliances are now being removed because they’re not allowed since the province is paying for electricity.)
Magbanua added that for strict security compliance, PJMD employees will be subjected to inspection and will be made to surrender their mobile phones to authorized personnel for custody. They will be returned to them only after the completion of their daily duties.
He said further that the order also prohibits PJMD personnel from posting any information regarding their facilitation and operations of the facility in any social media platform, including any picture of the jail and of any person or object.
Also part of the changes inside the PJMD is the restriction of all detainees to only “three hours of free time” outside their detention cells.
“After the given period, all detainees are expected to be in their detention cells. The warden may designate them to stay in certain areas and at certain times only, away from the other detainees due to the nature of their cases for their own safety and well-being,” he said.
Under the BJMP revised guidelines on visitation, Magbanua said Rabago should also sternly implement the direction on visiting days which are only Tuesday to Sunday.
Visiting hours will be from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the weekend. Visitors who have gone to the jail facility in the morning can no longer visit in the afternoon and vice-versa.