Knives, axes, ice picks, a hack saw, and carpentry tools.
These were but some of the potential deadly weapons confiscated by police from inmates of the Negros Oriental Detention & Rehabilitation Center during a surprise inspection Thursday morning.
Provincial police director Sr. Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas led some 83 PNP personnel, to include the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, the Provincial PNP Public Safety Company, uniformed police and intelligence operatives, and K-9 teams from the PNP and Coast Guard-Dumaguete, in sifting through personal belongings and checking detention cells, perimeter security, and practically scouring the entire provincial jail compound.
The inspection was made amid talks of a planned jailbreak at the provincial government-managed jail facility.
At the start of the two-hour inspection, the 211 inmates, nine of them women, were gathered at the jail’s function hall, where Sr. Supt. Lawas explained to them about the security check.
Lawas said that after talking to inmates, the planned jailbreak turned out to be just rumors although authorities are not taking any chances to ensure that this will not happen in the near future.
The inspecting teams recovered among other potentially dangerous items, which provincial jail warden Nick Noble said, would have to be inventoried as to which ones should be permanently confiscated from their respective owners.
Noble explained that as part of the provincial jail’s efforts to provide livelihood for its inmates, it is running a carpentry shop where furniture pieces made by the inmates are sold to local and even foreign clients.
No illegal drugs were confiscated during the surprise inspection, which Noble had requested for and was duly approved by Governor Roel Degamo, said Sr. Supt. Lawas.
Noble, a retired police colonel, admitted that while jail authorities carry out a regular inspection of the inmates’ belongings, and those of their visitors who pass through security check at the gates during visiting days, it is a tough job to be able to religiously monitor them, especially with the women inmates.
In fact, the NODRC has hired three female staff on job order status to assist jail authorities in dealing with the female inmates and conducting search when necessary, Noble said.
The jail warden further admitted that Thursday’s search was more thorough and methodical, based on all the items that were retrieved, as he expressed hope that the PNP will continue to assist the NODRC staff in conducting similar inspections in the future.
Noble and Lawas also expressed relief that there are no rival groups inside the provincial jail as it would affect the maintenance of peace and order in the facility. (PNA/Judy Flores Partlow)