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‘Gov’t exec meddling in drug queen’s case’

A crime scene tape bears witness to the drug raid on the Gy J Condominium near Malacañang on November 7, 2017. Diane Yu, daughter of drug queen Yu Yuk Lai (top inset), was reportedly caught with P10 million worth of shabu in the condominium unit she occupied. KJ Rosales, Non Alquitran/File

MANILA, Philippines — A government official is trying to intervene in the case of drug queen Yu Yuk Lai, who was caught with P5 million worth of shabu, cash and checks in her prison cell last Monday, the head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said yesterday.

PDEA director general Aaron Aquino said the government official, whom he refused to name, tried to settle the case of Yu and her daughter, Diana Yu Uy.

“There is someone trying to fix the case. Many are calling,” he said in an ambush interview.

When asked if the person involved is influential or a government official, Aquino answered “yes” but added that he would not yet name the official without stronger evidence.

Her daughter was arrested after two kilos of shabu, with an estimated street value of P10 million, were seized from her condominium unit near Malacañang’s Solano gate on the same day.

At the Correctional Institution for Women, none of the checks taken from Yu’s prison cell – painted red and comfortably furnished – had an amount lower than P2 million.

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PDEA said Yu was earning about P20 million a month from her illegal drug trade after she was sentenced to prison on drug charges in 2001.

Precedent

This is not the first time that somebody “influential” was tagged in Yu’s case.

In 2001, the Supreme Court (SC) fired Court of Appeals Justice Demetrio Demetria from judicial service for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct for supposedly interceding in Yu’s case.

Demetria and Yu’s brother-in-law allegedly went to the office of a state prosecutor and asked him to “go slow” on Yu’s case, according to case records quoted in a report.

Demetria, a former acting justice secretary, was stripped of his benefits and perpetually barred from holding public office following the SC decision.

Seeking pardon?

The 74-year-old Yu is reportedly seeking a presidential pardon, according to unconfirmed reports.

The drug queen, with the help of her daughter, was able to smuggle the illegal drugs into the CIW by hiding packets in sacks of rice and other items which were sent through exit points of the detention facility, PDEA said.

She reportedly also had a chapel constructed at the CIW to be able to use the facility as a stockroom, sources said.

Aquino said Diana was able to use her rice retailing business as a front for her illegal drug activities and enjoyed VIP treatment inside the facility, as evidenced by recovered surveillance footage.

PDEA Special Enforcement Service director Levi Ortiz said that Yu had links to convicted drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison. 

It was later found that Diana also enjoyed the privilege of two security escorts from the Police Security Protection Group, identified as Police Officer 3 Walter Vidal and PO2 Faisall Abdullah Sawadjaan.

This has led to the recall of all police bodyguards by Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

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