MANILA – Prison officials are conducting a thorough search for contraband at the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Mindoro Occidental after one of its inmates was able to conduct illegal drug transactions.
Department of Justice Undersecretary Deo Marco told the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on Monday that the case of Melvin Magallon (alias Pawpaw), a Sablayan minimum security inmate, led to current stricter inspections.
Magallon allegedly called the shots in a drug-deal transaction, using a mobile phone, that led to a misencounter between Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Special Enforcement Service agents and members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) on February 24, 2021.
“Magallon has been isolated. There is a continuous coordination between BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation),” Marco told the media on Tuesday.
Magallon allegedly used the name James Tan in transacting with Jonaire “Mama Jo” Decena, a QCPD inmate tapped to act as poseur-buyer.
Two cops, one PDEA operative and one PDEA informant died in the incident.
Marco said Magallon is allowed to work inside the prison as part of his reformation but clarified he is not allowed to use a mobile phone.
“They can roam around the compound,” Marco said.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the committee chair, also reiterated his position to restore the death penalty as a deterrent to drug dealers, including those operating even behind bars. (PNA)