Photo from Palawan Police Provincial Office

The test conducted by authorities on a sample of suspected shabu confiscated from a detainee at the Palawan provincial jail during a joint Oplan Galugad operation on April 23 had yielded a negative result.

Provincial information officer Christian Jay Cojamco, in an interview Wednesday with Palawan News, showed documents from the crime lab that stated the 9.2081 grams of white crystalline substance submitted for qualitative assessment yielded negative results to tests for the presence of dangerous drugs.

Both harmful substances methamphetamine and THC-metabolites were also not found in the urine sample taken from the detainee from whom the suspected shabu was confiscated.

Cojamco said these results indicate that the provincial jail is drug-free because what Oplan Galugad found was not hazardous narcotics.

However, the Palawan Jail Management Division (PJMD) management will step up its security measures to ensure that illegal drugs will not enter its premises, as well as other illegal contrabands.

“Nananatiling drug-free dahil wala tayong nakitang droga sa loob ng ating bilangguan, pero hindi tumitigil iyong ating (persons deprived of liberty) PDL sa pag-iisip ng paraan upang maipasok iyong droga sa loob. Pero ang lahat ng ito ay ating masasabat at talagang napipigilan ang pagpasok ng droga sa loob ng bilangguan dahil sa dobleng effort ng mga jail guard,” he said.

READ RELATED STORY: Illegal drug use present among detainees in Palawan prov’l jail

Cojamco said when joint authorities discovered the suspected shabu in the detainee’s sleeping area, the first thing that was done was utilize a sniffing dog to see if it was harmful drugs.

The K9 sat in the place where it was found, but they sent it to the PNP crime lab for further testing to confirm the presence of harmful substances.

“Ang aming ginawa para sa preliminary confirmation ay pinaamoy ito sa dala-dalang k9 ng Police Provincial Office (PPO). Ang naging resulta ay inupuan ng K9 ang 1 sachet. Pero dahil gusto nating makasiguro sinubmit natin ito sa PPO crime laboratory at [noong] nakaraan nga ay lumabas ang resulta na ito ay negatibo sa shabu. Sinubmit din namin for laboratory testing and [urine sample] ng PDL na nakunan ng sachet na iyon at nag-negatibo ito sa presence ng shabu pati marijuana,” he said.

He said it had now been determined that the white crystalline sachet from the detainee was “tawas” (deodorant rock) when the K9 was utilized to investigate the item to see whether it was truly drugs, as well as when the PPO conducted laboratory testing to acquire a precise conclusion.

Cojamco added that the negative results of the reportedly confiscated narcotics did not surprise them because the PJMD is strictly secured by jail guards.

“Sa side namin kami din ay nagdududa kung talaga bang droga iyon dahil sobra ang effort na ginagawa ng jail guards and ‘yung white crystalline na sinasabing droga na nakalagay sa isang sachet na may 9.2 grams, sa experience natin ang nagbebenta ng droga na naka-sachet hindi umaabot ng 1 gram per sachet,” he said.

On the other hand, he said the public can rest assured that the PJMD management is doing its best to prevent illegal drug use among detainees.

On this, he underlined their discovery of detainees’ inventive tactics to get narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and other illegal items within the jail management division, such as using cup noodles and punching holes in coconut shells to hide drugs inside.

“Marami ang bagong paraan na ginagawa ng PDLs para maipasok lang iyong mga droga doon sa loob. Isa sa mga nabanggit sa atin ay pinapasok nila ito gamit iyong cup noodles. May pagkakataon na napansin ito ng jail guard na iyong noodles na gustong ipasok ay walang plastic. Kung bibili ka ng cup noodles kasi may plastic yan sa labas, noong napansin ng jail guard na hindi nakabalot sa plastic, binuksan at doon nalaman na may lamang droga sa loob,” he explained.

“Isa pang paraan ay nakalagay naman sa niyog — ang niyog binubutasan at doon nila isinisilid sa butas ng niyog ang droga para pag gagamitin nila pangluto doon nila nakukuha ang lamang shabu sa loob,” Cojamco added.

Cojamco also said that PJMD warden Gabriel Lopez told him that the PDLs have no outside contacts, but that there was a jail employee that was involved in a previous buy-bust operation.

Lopez has also informed Cojamco that they will perform an internal cleansing in order to deal with some allegations in their office and clarify and present everything to the public.

They will also launch an administrative probe into how the paraphernalia and other illegal items ended up inside their facility.

“Patuloy ang pababantay nila sa mga pinapasok na gamit, hindi lang kasi droga ang nakuha pati mga patalim, construction materials, lagare, cellphone — mas lalong hihigpitan ang mga PDL sa pagpasok ng mga gamit sa kanilang selda,” he said.

He said they will not file a case against the detainee for violating Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act because he tested negative for all laboratory exams performed by PPO. There will also be no further investigation into him following Oplan Galugad.

Cojamco also clarified that the detainee was imprisoned for murder and had nothing to do with drugs.

“Para sa ating kababayan, kami ay nakakasiguro na walang nangyaring cover dito na allegedly may napalitan o may nangyaring pagmamanipula dahil isa nga sa mga dahilan kung bakit sinama ang PPO at ang PDEA sa ginawang Oplan Galugad para makasigurado na kung anuman ang makuha sa loob ng PJMD ay lahat ito ay maiiimbentaryo at malalaman ng publiko pati na rin ang ibang ahensya ng gobeyerno,” he said.

Following the conduct of Oplan Galugad on the morning of April 23, PPO director P/Col. Adonis Guzman said illegal drug use is present among detainees of the PJMD.

He said they will file a complaint against the detainee whose bedding at Cell No. 13 in the Annex Building the alleged shabu sachet was found.

When asked about the crime lab results, Guzman declined to comment further, other than to say that they will take action.

“Lumabas na ang resulta, kung anu man ang naging resulta, respect, but we are doing… gagawa kami ng moves para lang ma clear lahat ito,” Guzman said.