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Cebu News

PDEA denies law enforcers protect drug operations

Niña S. Abenoja and Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-7 dismissed reports on law enforcers allegedly protecting illegal drug activities in Barangay Pulangbato, Cebu City, which was recently raided by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-7 due to the operation of a “shabu tiangge.”

PDEA-7 Regional director Espiridion Javier said their office has not received information about policemen’s involvement in the illegal activities in the mountain barangay.

“To make it clear, as the lead agency in anti-drug operations, wala akong knowledge na involved ang police,” Javier told reporters yesterday, adding that they address all illegal drug reports they receive but then they have not obtained any report on alleged drug activities in barangay Pulangbato.“Walang dumating sa aming report on drugs sa Pulangbato. Why didn’t they ask us? Basta pag may dumating sa aming report, lahat naman 24/7 inaaksyonan namin. Was there any situation na may report kayo na hindi namin inaksyonan? Anybody from the media?” Javier’s response when asked by reporters about their monitoring in Pulangbato.

The PDEA official further claimed that they were not also tipped by the Police Coordinating  and Advisory Council (OCAC) and barangay officials whom they earlier called on to coordinate by informing drug activities in their respective areas.

Javier pointed out that the PDEA, with limited manpower, focuses on ‘high-value targets’ and therefore, it is already the task of the police to run after street pushers.

Javier further said that he has yet to check their records if barangay Pulangbato is among the list of those highly targeted.

“Napakaraming barangay eh, hindi nakarating sa amin ang information, o kung meron man baka di ko nabasa kasi whole region napakalaki,” Javier asserted.

Regional Intelligence Division (RID) 7 Chief Pablo Labra II confirmed though that illegal drug activities in Pulangbato is reviving.

Labra said that back in 2008, when he was still the intelligence chief of Cebu City, they conducted simultaneous operations in Pulangbato and eventually halted the proliferation of  illegal drugs operation in the barangay.

“Lately na sad na dinhi na ta sa regional headquarters, nakadawat ta’g reports na dunay pagbalik sa problema sa pagpahuyot og drugas dinha sa Pulangbato,” said Labra, who added that he has instructed Cebu City’s Intelligence Branch (CIB) to look into this.

The RID-7 chief said he also tasked CIB to speed up in validating reports on alleged involvement of  policemen in the drug operations in the said barangay.

Meanwhile, NBI-7 is set to file charges today before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office against four people, including a pregnant woman, who were arrested during a raid in Barangay Pulangbato.

Special investigator Larry Dominguez told the media that they conducted three months of surveillance in the suspected drug den or “shabu tiange” in the said barangay prior to the implementation of the  search warrant.

Rodelio Miñoza alias “Tatay” was the subject of the warrant but during the operation, Dominguez said they failed to arrest Miñoza.

“Hindi namin na-arrested ang may-ari ng bahay, may nagtimbre. Pagdating namin doon itong apat lang ang nandon,” he said, referring to Leo Potot, 22; Brian Ledesma, 23; Wendrex Arias, 36; and Irene Duyag, 29, who they arrested during the raid for violation of  Republic Act 9165 or violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Potot and Ledesma denied using shabu and claimed that they were only in the area by chance during the raid.

Dominguez said they learned that the drug den has been existing for three years already. Aside from the small sachets of shabu, he said they were able to seize drug paraphernalias, grenades and motor bikes.

When asked on the possibility that law enforcers served as protectors of the illegal activities in the area, Dominguez said this is still subject for investigation.

He pointed out though that the area they raided was 100 meters away from the barangay hall. (FREEMAN)

ADVISORY COUNCIL BARANGAY BARANGAY PULANGBATO BRIAN LEDESMA CEBU CITY DOMINGUEZ DRUG JAVIER PULANGBATO
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