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Metro

Marcelino goes on hunger strike

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino said yesterday he has started a hunger strike until he regains his freedom.

The former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency special unit chief made the declaration as he was being escorted by PDEA personnel out of the Department of Justice building, where a preliminary investigation hearing was held.

He also refused to present his case operation plan (coplan) to justify his presence at a townhouse in Sta. Cruz, Manila, where 76 kilos of shabu was found last week.

“If you release the coplan, you will expose the officials involved in the (mission), its witnesses, the place under surveillance, the cost of the project. That would surely compromise the entire anti-illegal drug program,” Marcelino’s lawyer, Dennis Manalo, told reporters in an interview outside the Anti-Illegal Drug Group office in Camp Crame, where his client was being held.

Marcelino denied the allegations against him and said PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac gave the order for his arrest because he “has historically been irate at my continued involvement in the anti-drug campaign of the government. His animosity toward me is known in the PDEA. I have been informed of his verbal tirades against me.”

Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia Jr., AIDG spokesman, said Marcelino’s camp need only show the coplan to other police operatives, not the public at large.

He added that Cacdac did not immediately order Marcelino’s arrest.

“He was arrested because he failed to present a coplan. If he presented a coplan it would not have led to this,” Merdegia said.

Aside from drug-related charges, Merdegia said the police will charge Marcelino with illegal possession of firearms since the registration of the gun found in the former PDEA agent’s possession has expired, though he has a license to own and possess firearms.

In yesterday’s one-hour hearing, Marcelino also filed a motion asking that the AIDG and PDEA return his belongings, including P86,000 meant for his wife, who is suffering from a nerve ailment.

The police agreed to return Marcelino’s belongings today except for his two mobile phones and firearms, which are still undergoing forensic analysis. – With Jaime Laude

ACIRC

ARTURO CACDAC

CAMP CRAME

CHIEF INSPECTOR ROQUE MERDEGIA JR.

DENNIS MANALO

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

DRUG GROUP

FERDINAND MARCELINO

MARCELINO

MARINE LT

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