Penalty sought for those sneaking ‘illegals’ in jail

Councilor Mabel Sunga Acosta Council said the City Council is poised to pass an ordinance prohibiting and penalizing the sneaking of any form of contraband items inside the City Jail and other detention places in the city of Davao.

Acosta, chair of the committee on peace and order told the Pulong-Pulong ni Pulong press conference on Tuesday that the proposed ordinance sought to prohibit all forms of contrabands like blades, cigarettes, tobacco products, pornographic materials, alcoholic beverages, mobile phones, electronic communication devices, and gambling paraphernalia from gaining entry into detention centers.

At the Session Hall, Jail Supt. Jonathan Ignacio Lavapie said the city Jail has a total population of 3,255 inmates, with 72 percent of cases drug-related while 28 percent of the total inmates were involved in non-drug related cases.

Lavapie said based on their search operations on April 1, confiscated items from the jail included bladed weapons, improvised ice picks, screwdrivers, materials for tattoo, 31 cellphones, pocket wifi and drugs paraphernalia.

Acosta said the proposed ordinance revolves around the concern of Davao City Jail officials regarding the confiscation of contraband materials

“They said that while they can always confiscate, they cannot punish those who kept doing the offense that is why they are asking for an ordinance to make sneaking of contrabands punishable,” Acosta said.

Acosta added that visitors and service providers in the city jail are given only verbal warnings as there is no ordinance yet. She pointed out the necessity to pass the proposed ordinance so they can penalize particularly those who keep on attempting to sneak in cellphones, among others things.
The proposed ordinance will penalize violators for the first offense with P5,000 and 24-hour community service with subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-compliance of the community service; P5,000 and 120-hour community service with subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-compliance for the second offence; and, P5,000 and imprisonment at the discretion of the court and perpetual ban of visiting privilege.

The proposed ordinance is currently in second reading.

Once approved, it will strengthen the implementation of security measures inside the jail facilities and prevent the occurrence of deaths, riots, hostage taking and escape inmates.