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âDrug queen gave away SUVs to copsâ
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino also said Castro, the village chief of Barangay 484 in Sampaloc, Manila, became a billionaire by dealing in illegal drugs sourced from corrupt police officers and reselling them in the streets.
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‘Drug queen gave away SUVs to cops’

Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2019 - 12:00am

P1 billion earned from drug deals since 2000

MANILA, Philippines — At least six policemen are on the payroll of suspected “drug queen” Guia Gomez Castro, with all of them getting a brand new sport utility vehicle (SUV) as bonus for their illegal activity, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino said yesterday.

Aquino also said Castro, the village chief of Barangay 484 in Sampaloc, Manila, became a billionaire by dealing in illegal drugs sourced from corrupt police officers and reselling them in the streets.

He said Castro was able to earn at least P1 billion since she entered the illegal drug trade in the early 2000s. 

“She’s giving out brand new vehicles in every party. No raffle, she’s really giving them (Toyota) Fortuners. I learned that she gave a police lieutenant who is celebrating a birthday a brand new Fortuner. Even those ninja cops involved, they have Fortuners,” Aquino said, referring to rogue policemen recycling seized drugs.

In a radio interview, Aquino alleged Castro has the money to buy properties anywhere in the world.

Castro was arrested in 2001 for possession of one kilo of shabu, but the case was dismissed due to her influence and connections with the rogue policemen and other high-ranking government officials, Aquino said.

He maintained Castro lived up to her notoriety as the so-called drug queen of Manila.

“She can distribute 2 to 3 kilos (of shabu) in a week in Manila. Her business is so brisk because she is being protected by high ranking officials. She really invested by influencing people in the government,” Aquino said.

Castro supposedly ran for councilor in the 4th district of Manila in the 2016 elections but lost. She won in the 2018 barangay elections as chair of Barangay 484, a post she has since vacated.

At the same time, Aquino challenged Castro to return home and prove her innocence.

Castro reportedly left the country last Sept. 21 aboard a Cebu Pacific flight for Bangkok, Thailand. Before this, Castro arrived home from Vancouver, Canada last Sept. 18.

“I’m inviting her to come back and prove that she is not the ‘drug queen.’ I challenge her to disprove this (drug allegations),” Aquino said.

Castro relayed a statement to GMA-7’s “24 Oras” news program, denying the allegations of drug trafficking.

“I don’t know where the allegations linking me to those rogue cops came from. God knows I don’t know these people,” Castro said in a statement in Filipino.

“No amount of explaining will open the minds of those people linking me (to illegal drugs) because in their mindset, I am already guilty,” she said.

Castro said it would be better for her to stay away for her own safety.

She took a jab at President Duterte’s war on drugs, saying suspects nowadays get killed even without the benefit of prosecution.

Sources and methods

At the same time, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde briefed the President on the campaign against the ninja cops recycling seized drugs.

Albayalde said he provided the President a list of suspected rogue policemen the PNP is now investigating.

According to Albayalde, there are about 727 police officers in the list.

The meeting with the President in Malacañang came after the Senate received the names of police officials involved in the drug trade as revealed by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Magalong told an executive session of the Senate about police officers involved in drug recycling when he was director of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Duterte met with Albayalde at about the same time Sen. Christopher Go was supposed to provide the President the official transcript of the Senate’s executive session.

Albayalde himself was linked to allegations that he is protecting his subordinates involved in the drug trade.

“As you all know, there were talks and intrigues about (myself getting involved) so I briefed the President on the status of our war on drugs in the PNP,” Albayalde said.

He said he would leave it to the President to decide about revealing the names of the rogue policemen.

“We leave that to the wisdom of the President. He said he will decide in due time,” Albayalde said.

Presidential spokesman and chief presidential legal adviser Salvador Panelo said the President is still reviewing the information relayed to him by various sources on the allegations that Albayalde is protecting his subordinates involved in recycling illegal drugs.

Panelo did not categorically reveal the outcome of the President’s meeting with Albayalde, except that he listened to the side of the PNP chief during their meeting Wednesday night in Malacañang.

“Until such time as the President doesn’t say anything officially or publicly or on the sides, the presumption is he trusts the sources that are brought to him,” Panelo said.

Panelo added Malacañang also noted the PDEA chief’s revelation of top police officials involved in the drug trade.

Diversion

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said Albayalde and other PNP officials will be summoned to a hearing next week.

He said the committee will look into the case in its ongoing inquiry into the ninja cops.

But the issue in the inquiry was somewhat muddled by the controversy generated by Castro, the alleged drug queen who fled abroad.

“It (escape) could be a diversionary tactic or a way of eliminating a possible witness against senior officials. You can’t operate drugs in the fashion of big time drug queen that you can’t be ensnared if you’re not linked to someone big,” Gordon said.

Aquino brought up the case of Castro in public for the first time during the budget hearings of PDEA at the Senate last week.

Gordon said he felt Aquino was frustrated at the same time holding back on what he really knows about Castro and the involvement of ranking police officials in drugs.

“It’s as if he (Aquino) can’t move much, like he’s anchored down. When you’re an officer, and somebody is operating (in drugs) higher than you, you’ll be reluctant,” he said.

On Albayalde, Gordon acknowledged there are intrigues surrounding the PNP chief, especially that he is set to retire soon.

Albayalde’s name surfaced when Aquino and Magalong, in separate hearings with the senators, lamented the continued recycling of illegal drugs.

Magalong last week told the committee of a particular case in 2014 where a group of police officers conducted a major anti-drug raid but the bulk of the drugs were not declared but sold through the help of convicted drug traffickers at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Some of the PNP officers involved in that incident are still in active service, he warned.

Magalong divulged more details, including identities of the PNP officers, in an executive session last Sept. 19. It was later learned that Albayalde apparently was one of the officers referred to in the case, as an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government had said the police general was relieved when he was still Pampanga provincial director for command responsibility in connection with irregularities in that particular raid.

The Senate on Monday voted to lift the secrecy on the executive session to allow the chamber to transmit the transcripts of that closed-door meeting to Duterte.

Gordon indicated the inquiry on Tuesday will now shift to drug pilfering and selling by crooked cops.

He said it was only because of revelations of Aquino and Magalong during the hearings that the involvement of rogue policemen was taken up, adding the committee is also looking for possible links to the matter with the case of Castro. – Paolo Romero, Christina Mendez, Emmanuel Tupas, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan

DRUG QUEEN DRUG WAR GUIA GOMEZ CASTRO PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
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