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Baguio's drug king gets life term

Artemio Dumlao - The Philippine Star

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - Baguio’s infamous drug king– Bernardo 'Benjie' Oliveros, got a life term and was fined P10 million for selling drugs.

Oliveros, said to be in the drug trade for decades and was only collared by anti-narcotics operatives on September 2011, was found guilty by Judge Antonio Reyes of the Baguio City drug court.

The conviction of the 'godfather' of organized local drug groups prompted the neutralization of the wide-ranging and deep-seated Oliveros drug group in the Cordillera Region, said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)- Cordillera Assistant Director Gil Castro.

From his humble beginning as a 'stowaway,' he became the city’s most powerful drug personality for a very long time, he said.

On August 20, Reyes convicted Oliveros to 12 years and one day to 20 years imprisonment, and a fine of four hundred thousand pesos, for having found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of violating Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) of Republic Act 9165 (The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

Oliveros will be sent to the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa.

Reyes in his ruling said, “this Court has to condemn, as a matter of duty, the accused to a life in prison where he shall be of harm to society no more.” 

The streets of Baguio City has become a little safer from one notorious drug pusher less, a small measure of comfort but greatly attributable to the seamless efforts of the courts Prosecutor Ma. Lourdes D. Soriano and the concerned PDEA agents, Reyes said.

Oliveros, an elusive, seasoned drug dealings top dog was Number One in the Target List of Drug Personalities in the region and had already been a key player in the shabu trade in Baguio City by the late 1990’s.

He had long been the subject of various drug law enforcement operations in the region even before the birth of the PDEA– Cordillera.

The big-time Oliveros drug group leader was once arrested with 10 grams of shabu by operatives of PDEA– Cordillera, on Nov. 17, 2004, in a buy-bust operation at Lower Rock Quarry, Baguio City. But the criminal cases filed against him were dismissed shortly, on Dec. 7, 2004.  He had been, subsequently, difficult to corner. 

His son, Federico Oliveros alias 'Eric' was nabbed with 9.09 grams of shabu at Maria Basa, Pacdal, Baguio City during an entrapment operation by the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Baguio City Police Office on Nov. 10, 2007. The cases against him for illegal sale, possession and use of dangerous drugs were also dismissed on Jan. 6, 2009.

More than two years and five months later, on June 11, 2011, he was again collared in Alfonso Tabora, Baguio City by members of the Regional Anti-illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group of the Police Regional Office – Cordillera in a buy-bust operation. He was caught with .41 gram of shabu and consequently charged for unlawful drug sale and possession. He was acquitted on July 9 last year.

The younger Oliveros, who had also been previously wanted for frustrated murder, was last captured on May 21, 2013, which is a little over 10 months after his latest acquittal.

Eric, a regional top priority target and member of the Oliveros group, was nabbed at New Lucban, Baguio City in a sting operation by PDEA agents. Three sachets of shabu, weighing about 2.18 grams, were confiscated from him.

Like his father, Eric will spend life in prison when found guilty of his newest drug law violations.

At least three other close relatives or drug group members of the older Oliveros, who were collared by PDEA had already been convicted.

ALFONSO TABORA BAGUIO BAGUIO CITY CITY CORDILLERA ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GIL CASTRO CORDILLERA REGION DRUG DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OLIVEROS REYES
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