Councilor Nesario Awat imposes penalty on anyone who will be caught sneaking-in contraband items inside jails and detention cells.

The City Council has approved an ordinance that imposes penalties on anyone who will be caught sneaking in contraband items inside temporary detention cells, jails, and reformatory centers in Puerto Princesa.

The ordinance was approved on the third and final reading on Monday during its regular session.

Councilor Nesario Awat, the author of the ordinance, told the media in an interview that the measure was initially proposed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) of Puerto Princesa City Jail (PPCJ) in 2017.

“Finally, it was approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Tumagal ito because of the legal opinion of the City Legal Office (CLO). Kung matatandaan ninyo, ang City Legal Office ay nagpalabas ng opinyon na this is class legislation because the purpose of the ordinance, which was requested by the BJMP. It already submitted a draft from their head office na ito ay limited lamang sa City Jail under ng BJMP,” said Awat.

Awat said the proposed measure was kept on file until the BJMP moved for reconsideration which was not also granted by the CLO.

Awat said that following the motion, they studied carefully the measure and even included in its scope the Palawan Provincial Jail (PPJ) and other detention centers.

However, he said the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) is not covered by the ordinance

Although the draft of the ordinance is not yet available as it is yet to undergo amendment finalization, Awat said some of the items considered as contrabands are cellphones, marijuana, shabu, other illegal narcotics, deadly weapons, cigarettes, and petroleum jelly or vaseline.

Awat said the first offense has a monetary penalty of P1,000; P2,000 or P3,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 for the third and last offense.

Iyong parusa dito is may tinatawag tayong subsidiary imprisonment in case of insurgency and then kung halimbawang may option siya na mag-avail ng tinatawag na community service at ‘yong community service na ‘yon once na mai-avail niya ay maibabalik naman ‘yong mga items na nakumpiska sa kaniya for as long as it is not illegal per se,” said Awat.

Councilor Herbert Dilig in a separate interview after the regular session at the City Council said he saw a need for the ordinance to be fine-tuned.

This he stated was the reason he voted “no” for the “immediate” approval of the measure at the plenary Monday.

However, Dilig said he is not objecting for its approval, but only sees a necessity for further polishing of its terminologies, which define its scope and implementation.

“Sa akin kasi halimbawa there are some words there these terms like rehabilitation. The ordinance speaks of what do you call as detention centers. When you speak of rehabilitation you are referring to centers na ang mga nandodoon ay convicted by final judgement. So for me maraming dapat ayusin na hindi na maayos ang tagal pa, so I’d rather not, I don’t like to put my imprimatur therein, ‘yon lang,” said Dilig.

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