The confiscated items after the police conducted Oplan Galugad at the Palawan Jail Management Division (PJMD) on April 23 in Barangay Bancao-Bancao, Puerto Princesa City. (Photo from Palawan Police Provincial Office)

A high-ranking police official confirmed Saturday that illegal drug use is present in the Palawan provincial jail following the operation of Oplan Galugad, which confiscated a sachet of suspected shabu and more than a handful of paraphernalia from detainees.

A charge for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act will be filed against the detainee whose bedding at Cell No. 13 in the Annex Building the shabu sachet was retrieved from, according to P/Col. Adonis Guzman, director of the Police Provincial Office (PPO).

He said it was one sachet but it weighed more or less 9.6 grams with an estimated street value of P75,000.

A police officer performs a body search on an inmate inside the Palawan provincial jail during Oplan Galugad. (Photo from Palawan Police Provincial Office)

Guzman said the inmate initially claimed it was “tawas” (deodorant rock), but subsequently confessed he bought it from someone else in the Palawan Jail Management Division (PJMD), which is located at the PEO Compound in Barangay Bancao-Bancao.

“Yong tawag dito is possession kasi sa mismong higaan niya nakuha… sa higaan ng detainee. Yong particular inmate ang kakasuhan natin. We’re still looking into the source, sa initial na interview, nabili lang din niya sa loob. Ang sabi niya nga tawas daw yon na pampahid sa kili-kili niya, ay hindi naman puwedeng lulusot sa atin yon,” Guzman said.

They also seized “deadly and bladed weapons,” cellphones and accessories, various illegal drug use paraphernalia, and other prohibited items.

He claimed that, unlike before, when some were simply speculating, drug use inside the provincial jail can now be confirmed. Guzman added the confiscation of drug paraphernalia typically utilized in illegal narcotics implies that drug usage is prevalent in the provincial jail.

“Talagang indication na may gumagamit kasi panggamit nga ang mga yon,” he said.

He said the conduct of Oplan Galugad was jointly done with the PJMD management headed by jail warden Gabriel Lopez, a retired police colonel.

The operation that began around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, according to Guzman, was first intended to be Oplan Greyhound, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s (BJMP) anti-illegal drugs and anti-contraband campaign. However, since PNP Chief P/Gen. Dionardo Carlos instructed them to conduct Oplan Galugad, they opted to do it jointly.

Oplan Galugad was simultaneously conducted nationwide, he said.

“Kaya lang naitaon na may instruction din si chief PNP, kaya nag-joint na lang kami kasi he’s (Lopez) suspecting na may mga detainees na gumagamit nga sa loob,” he said.

Guzman said that some of the confiscated items are carpentry tools and will be returned.

“Yong mga bladed weapons hindi namin ibabalik kahit pa ang sabi ng mga inmates ay ginagamit nila sa pagluluto sa kusina,” he said.

The joint team of Guzman, Lopez, Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) director P/Col. Roberto Bucad, 1ST PMFC, 2nd PMFC, PALPPO SWAT Team, PAL PPO EOD/K9 Units, CMFC, RDEU, CIDG PFU, and Palawan PDEA conducted the Oplan Galugad in the main and annex buildings of the PJMD.

Meanwhile, provincial government spokesperson Atty. Christian Jay Cojamco said Oplan Galugad conducted through the joint efforts of the Provincial PNP and PJMD has been successful.

“Several contrabands have been recovered, including a substance believed to be shabu. Nonetheless, the recovery of these contrabands will not be the end. Instead, PJMD will continue to improve and will be more circumspect in, the inspection of all the items being brought inside jail buildings in order to prevent the entry of contrabands and illegal drugs,” he said.

Cojamco said the public can rest assured that the PJMD Management will conduct an administrative investigation to address the allegations that there may be a collusion between some PJMD personnel and inmates in the entry of the recovered illegal contrabands inside the jail compound.

“The PJMD management will leave no stone unturned in doing this,” he said.

As of press time, inventory and documentation of all recovered and confiscated items are still being carried out.