Mission order stumps PDEA
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to clarify the claims of Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino that he has a mission order to conduct surveillance on a shabu laboratory in Manila where he was arrested on Thursday.

“I will ask for a copy,” PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr. said on Friday upon learning that Marcelino insisted he has a mission order during his inquest at the Department of Justice.

“I will ask the officer who signed the mission order, what is the nature of the job that was given to him?” Cacdac said.

Cacdac said it does not make sense for Marcelino to claim that he was conducting a surveillance of the shabu laboratory where he was arrested.

“How can a person who was tasked to conduct casing and surveillance be arrested incident a clandestine laboratory?” he remarked.

Marcelino was arrested Thursday in a raid on a suspected shabu laboratory in Manila. Along with Chinese national Yan Yi Shou, lawmen seized from them some 76 kilos of illegal drugs worth P383 million.

Citing information from operatives, Cacdac said Marcelino and Yan had a key to the property, which was covered by a search warrant and has been under surveillance.

Yan was supposedly a former asset of the PDEA, where Marcelino worked as chief of a special unit.

During his inquest, Marcelino claimed he was working on a mission order as part of the operation “Oplan Moses” of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

However, his former ISAFP boss and now Army chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año said a mission order that he issued to Marcelino had lapsed in 2014.

The Army’s Intelligence Service Group (ISG) has issued a certification signed by Col. Mario Guloy that Marcelino has been sharing intelligence information with the unit from November to December 2015 on illegal drug activities.

The current ISAFP chief, Maj. Gen. Arnold Quiapo, said Marcelino is no longer connected with his unit as he returned to the Navy following his assignment with military intellgence in 2014.

“It’s been a long time that he is not with us. Ask the Navy, because he is assigned at the Philippine Navy Officers’ Candidate School,” Quiapo said.

He said ISAFP does not have any information regarding Marcelino’s activities.

Malacañang also denied Marcelino’s claim that he was detailed with the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC).

“Ferdinand Marcelino is not and has never been an operative detailed to the PAOCC. Our records show no ongoing PAOCC operations involving Lt. Col. Marcelino,” said Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning.

Marcelino’s lawyer Dennis Manalo said they have submitted a certification from the Army’s Intelligence and Security Group showing that Marcelino is sharing intelligence information on alleged involvement of Army personnel in the illegal drug trade from September to December last year.

Manalo claimed Marcelino’s arrest was a “misencounter.”

Former PDEA director and former AFP chief Dionisio Santiago, for his part, defended Marcelino, saying the Marine officer has been working  in the shadows against big drug syndicates operating in the country.

He did not deny that Marcelino was one of his trusted operatives while he was PDEA chief, describing him as a seasoned drug operative, and that if needed he would go underground.

“He is not the kind of officer who will just rely on reports coming from action agents. He himself will do the confirmation and verification, and most of the time he would just surprise me with search warrants,” Santiago said.

He added that he recruited Marcelino to join PDEA because he knew he is an upright officer.

Fearing for Marcelino’s safety, Santiago said that the arrested Marine officer should be kept in a well secured jail facility, saying that with what happened, it is clear that somebody out there wants to silence him.

Rogue

Cacdac reiterated an earlier statement from AFP chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri who reportedly told Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento that he has not authorized Marcelino to conduct anti-drug operations.

Cacdac said that if Iriberri specifically said that it was prohibited, why was he still given the supposed order?

“Somebody will be charged with insubordination,” he said.

Cacdac said Marcelino is no longer connected with the Army as he is already detailed with the Philippine Navy.

Cacdac noted the lack of coordination with PDEA, which he said is an administrative requirement for such kind of operation.

He stressed the need for coordination to prevent misencounters.

Cacdac said the PDEA did not receive any intelligence from the AFP regarding the laboratory when they were building up the case.

A police official, on the other hand, said they might have to conduct a lifestyle check on Marcelino.

An official said the lifestyle check could help investigators gather more information about Marcelino, who served as head of PDEA’s Special Enforcement Service.

“A lifestyle check is part of the full blown investigation,” the source told The STAR. The official, however, refused to go into detail on how investigators will go about the lifestyle check.

The source said investigators could check some of Marcelino’s bank accounts as a start.

Aside from lifestyle check, another source said Marcelino would have to present proof that he was working undercover.

“He cannot just claim he is on a mission. He has to satisfy all the aspects of surveillance operations and progress report on his cases,” one police official pointed out.

The same official said Marcelino cannot just make up a story on his mission since agents of PDEA and the police Anti-Illegal Drug Group are trained to sniff out illegal drug operations.

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 arrested.

Some of the PDEA agents were reportedly confused about the presence of Marcelino at the townhouse and 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 unit.

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

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

Cacdac advised Marcelino to get a good lawyer. – Jaime Laude, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Marvin Sy

 

 

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARNOLD QUIAPO ARTURO CACDAC JR. ASK THE NAVY ATILDE CACDAC DRUG FERDINAND MARCELINO MARCELINO PDEA
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