BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Controversial drug personality Ricky Serenio, who claimed that 35 police officers in Negros Island Region have been under the payroll of the Berya Drug Group, is now a free man, at least for now, after posting P720,000 bail for three cases filed against him in court.
Serenio has been placed under the protective custody of Magdaleno Peña, a consultant of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and his son Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Peña, as well as Senior Inspector Alfredo de Leon, Pulupandan police chief, after linking 35 police officers of NIR, several members of the PDEA and two local media personalities to the illegal drug trade in Bacolod City.
He is facing charges for grave coercion, illegal possession of firearms and explosives in court.
Bacolod Regional Trial Court Branch 54 Judge Eduardo Sayson has ordered the release of Serenio from custody on March 16, after he posted cash bond of P400,000 for illegal possession of explosives.
Serenio also posted P200,000 cash bond for illegal possession of firearms charges, pending before the Bacolod Regional Trial Court Branch 48 on January 31.
On January 20, he also posted P120,000 cash bond for grave coercion charges, court records showed.
Serenio, who claimed to be affiliated with the Berya Drug Group operating in Bacolod City, was arrested almost three months ago in Talisay City, Negros Occidental for grave coercion charges.
The apprehension of Serenio also yielded a fragmentation grenade and live ammunition for a 45 caliber pistol.
Serenio, in his petition to bail, claimed that the evidence against him is not strong.
He also maintained his innocence, alleging that he was a victim of evidence planting. He also dismissed the allegations of police officers as concocted and fabricated.
Further, Serenio also filed a petition for the consolidation of three cases filed against him in court, at the sala of Judge Sayson.
Almost all the police officers, including five PDEA personnel linked by Serenio to the Berya group, have already been reassigned outside NIR. (FREEMAN)