DETAINED Senator Leila de Lima has filed a bill seeking mandatory and surprised drug tests for both prisoners and their custodians to stomp out the unabated proliferation of drug abuse and trade in penal institutions.
Senate Bill No. 1496 or the “Drug-Free Prisons Act of 2017” seeks to conduct a regular drug tests in all detention and jail facilities.
“With this measure, it is envisioned that our detention facilities and correctional institutions shall finally be rid of the scourge of illegal drugs,” De Lima said.
De Lima said when she was Justice secretary, she led a series of high-risk surprise inspection raids of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City after she received reports of illegal drug use and operations.
The surprise inspections resulted in the immediate dismantling of the luxurious huts of high-profile inmates, the confiscation of contrabands, and the termination of prostitution and illegal gambling operations inside the NBP.
In 2011, some 679 raids were conducted at the NBP that resulted in the confiscation of 1,090 prohibited items. Before she left the agency, a total of 38,832 contrabands were also confiscated under the “Oplan Galugad.”
“Reports that our penal institutions are at the crux of the illegal drugs trade in the country are not new,” she pointed out in her bill’s explanatory note.
“Barely months from taking over, inmates were found to still be able to do drug in NBP. A year after taking over, the current Justice secretary has admitted there has been a resurgence of the drug trade.
“It appears that in spite of the early pronouncements of the Justice secretary and the PNP chief, the current measures being implemented are still ineffective in eradicating the drug problems in our penitentiary system,” De Lima added.