Drugbuster nabbed for P256-M shabu

(The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Members of a special unit of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) swooped down on a suspected shabu laboratory in Manila at past 1 a.m. yesterday, and were surprised to find their former chief.

Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, who led several high-profile operations when he headed the PDEA Special Enforcement Service (SES), told the raiding team that he was conducting intelligence operations at the Celadon Residences on Felix Huertas Street in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

The PDEA and members of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) did not buy his story and arrested him together with Yan Yi Shuo, alias Randy.

Yan was an interpreter at the PDEA when Marcelino was SES chief in 2005.

The raiding team was armed with a search warrant issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. The warrant reportedly stated that the townhouse serves as a storage facility for illegal drugs.

PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr. said Marcelino and Yan would be charged with violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Cacdac said the raiding team did not expect to find Marcelino in the suspected drug laboratory.

Seized in the raid were 64 kilos of suspected shabu with a street value of P256 million and a Toyota Camry.

Since Marcelino was nabbed in Yan’s company, he is considered a suspect by PDEA, “although initially he was not in our radar or watchlist,” Cacdac said.

He said the operation that led to the arrest of Marcelino was an offshoot of a raid in Barangay Lawang Bato, Valenzuela City early this month, during which two suspected Chinese drug suppliers were nabbed.

He said surveillance on the activities of the cohorts of the two Chinese nationals led them to the Celadon Residences where Marcelino and Yan were arrested.

At the time of his arrest, Marcelino had just assumed a job as superintendent of a naval education command.

AIDG spokesman Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia Jr. said the operation started in November last year when anti-drug operatives were tipped about a storage facility for shabu inside a posh subdivision somewhere in Sta. Cruz district, Manila.

“We were able to secure a search warrant for it on Saturday but our operatives have continuously been monitoring the activity in the vicinity hoping to arrest people behind the shabu operation,” said Merdegia.

AIDG and PDEA agents, taking positions outside the townhouse, spotted a Toyota Camry (XEV-665) carrying the suspects.

“The names of Marcelino and his Chinese companion were not even on our list. Our target is the townhouse because of the report that it has been serving as a storage facility for shabu and a clandestine shabu laboratory,” said Merdegia.

He added they found the shabu being frozen in four large plastic rectangular trays.

Sources said raiders immediately recognized Marcelino when the lights inside the townhouse were turned on.

“Raiders pounced on the two persons inside but they were not able to recognize him at first because it was very dark inside. But when the light was turned on, lawmen saw Marcelino,” a source noted.


Some of the PDEA agents were reportedly confused about the presence of Marcelino at the townhouse and some of them even thought he was with the operatives.

As the raiders were documenting evidence inside the townhouse, Cacdac arrived and reportedly blew his top when informed by PDEA agents of Marcelino’s presence inside the raided condo.

The PDEA chief reportedly gave Marcelino a tongue lashing and ordered his arrest.

Both Cacdac and Marcelino are products of the Philippine Military Academy. Cacdac graduated at the PMA in 1978 while Marcelino belonged to PMA Class 1994.

In an interview with reporters at Camp Crame, Marcelino denied being part of illegal drug operations. He claimed that he was on a mission targeting illegal drug syndicates.

He also claimed he is assigned with the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

But Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento debunked Marcelino’s claim that he was part of a mission against illegal drugs.

Sarmiento said Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri revealed Marcelino “was no longer authorized to conduct special anti-drug operation.”

A source also expressed doubt on PDEA’s story that its men were surprised to see the military officer with a suspected Chinese drug supplier “because they had been in this case for a long time.”

“It’s a very far-fetched proposition that they didn’t know the ‘who, what and where’ of their subjects. Please check why Marcelino left the PDEA and if it is true that they were not seeing eye-to-eye,” the source told The STAR.

PDEA public information chief Glenn Malapad maintained, however, that Marcelino was not the target of yesterday’s operation.

Almost happening at the same time as the raid in Santa Cruz was the arrest in Valenzuela City of another Chinese national and the seizure of 64 wooden drums containing what was presumed to be illegal drugs weighing 20 kilos each.

Operatives collared Qian Kun Huang, 36, inside a suspected drug storage facility on Bambi street, Gen. T. De Leon.

Five persons were taken into custody and were undergoing tactical interrogation as of press time.

Also yesterday at noon, Manila Police District operatives arrested two men in a buy-bust operation outside a supermarket in San Andres.

Sr. Supt. Carlito Feliciano, MPD deputy director for operations, said Aswani Macabato and Abdul Montaquim were about to deliver one kilo of shabu to undercover agents when arrested.  – Janvic Mateo


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