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PNP eyes seized drug suspects’ properties as safehouses

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) wants to use the seized properties of drug suspects as safehouses for its personnel.

PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said he discussed with officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) the possibility of using the confiscated houses of drug suspects for use of law enforcers.

“We are preparing a letter request para magamit maski man lang safehouse ng mga pulis natin. We are going in that direction,” Sinas told reporters in a news briefing.

Last week, Sinas led the seizure of two houses in Cebu owned by Charlie Fortuna and Jocelyn Encila, suspected leaders of a drug ring operating in Central Visayas.

The PNP chief said the decision on whether the seized properties of drug suspects could be used by law enforcers would depend on the decision of the court.

“They are amenable but we will ask the court kung puwede habang ongoing ang case,” Sinas said.

Last week, the house of Artemio Salas and his wife Daisy, suspected members of the Kuratong Baleleng drug ring, was seized in Cebu City based on a freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Wilkin Villanueva, who enforced the freeze order, said the house owned by the couple is worth P5 million.

Villanueva said the Salas couple also own properties in Ozamiz City and Maasin in Southern Leyte as well numerous bank accounts, which have been frozen.

Early this month, the AMLC implemented a freeze order on the assets of convicted drug personalities Rico Bacon and his wife Mary Ann in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental and Metro Manila.

PDEA said it is eyeing the forfeiture of the properties of drug personalities so that the government can use the proceeds in the implementation of its anti-drug campaign as well as rehabilitation and reintegration programs.

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