DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Feb) – Jail Chief Insp. Roman Hernandez, who was arrested after he tested positive for illegal drug use in a random testing conducted during Oplan Greyhound at the Davao City Jail in Ma-a on February 23, was not involved in the illegal drug trade inside the jail facility, according to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) 11.
Speaking during the AFP-PNP press briefing on Wednesday, BJMP-11 spokesperson Jail Insp. Edo Lobenia insisted that their intelligence report did not directly link Hernandez to illegal drugs activity inside the jail facility.
He said the jail officer, who admitted to have used “shabu,” is a victim himself “of the drug menace” in the country.
Joint forces from Police Regional Office 11, BJMP, DCPO, Regional Mobile Force Battalion, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group conducted a joint operation at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday to clear the jail facility of illegal drugs.
The bloody operation left four inmates killed and three police officers wounded. Authorities recovered two sachets of suspected shabu worth P160,000, drug paraphernalia, and deadly weapons.
Oplan Greyhound is an anti-illegal drugs and anti-contraband campaign conducted to prevent the entry, use and movement of contraband within jail premises to protect the public, employees and inmates.
Lobenia said Hernandez will be dismissed from the service.
Aside from Hernandez, Lobenia said four other non-officers of the Davao City Jail had been relieved from their posts for their alleged involvement in illegal drugs based on the intelligence report from PDEA 11.
PDEA 11 director Antonio E. Rivera said charges had been filed on Tuesday against Hernandez for possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal drug use.
He said Hernandez was not in their watchlist.
Rivera said the jail officer claimed to have used shabu as it helped ease the pain caused by an illness that developed due to a complication of diabetes.
He said Hernandez, who is now detained at PDEA 11, claimed that he got his supply of shabu from outside the jail facility. “But he did not divulge where. We cannot also force him to speak up but he reiterated that he is not in any way involved in the illegal drug activity inside the jail facility,” Rivera said.
Lobenia admitted that illegal drugs may have proliferated inside the jail for lack of personnel securing the facility. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)