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Lanao ambush on PDEA agents well-planned – PDEA Chief

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Director General Aaron Aquino of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Director General Aaron Aquino of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said he is convinced that his men fell into a well-planned ambush.

He was referring to the incident in Lanao del Sur on Friday (October 4) that led to the death of five PDEA agents.

Aquino paid a visit on Tuesday to Agent Rachelle Gentepanan who was among the two survivors.

Gentepanan told the PDEA chief that one of the gunmen looked familiar.

“Isa lang ang very glaring na sinabi niya roon.  Actually may mga pictures na kami ng mga ambushers and nung napakita sa kanya, sinabi niya sa akin na identified niya yung dalawang ambushers na nandun sa program nung time na nandun sila Tagoloan.  So it’s mean na pinagplanuhan ito,” Aquino said citing Gentepanan’s testimony.

Aside from the possible involvement of local politicians in the incident, Aquino said they are also looking into the possibility of some policemen among the plotters.

“Kung ambush lang din ang kalaban bakit hindi inambush ang mga pulis? Maliban doon sabi nila mga short fire arm. Ikaw ba sa palagay mo sa mga ganung areas, mga remote areas. Nakacamouflage ka tapos ang dala mo short fire arms?” Aquino hinted.

The PDEA Chief said that they have requested a parallel investigation with the National Bureau of Investigation on the incident. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Marisol Montaño)

 

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Authorities monitor against proliferation of party drugs in 2019 Sinulog Festival

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Authorities in Cebu City beef up security measures against the proliferation of party drugs as celebration of the annual Sinulog Festival begins

CEBU, Philippines – The Sinulog Festival kicked off last week and since then thousands of tourists have already flocked the province for the week-long celebration.

This prompted authorities to beef up security measures to ensure that peace and order is observed during the course of the festival.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 7 has intensified their monitoring against the entry and proliferation of party drugs especially in large party areas where local and foreign tourists congregate.

Canine units have already been deployed in strategic places across the province.

Patrol units, meanwhile, have been roving to immediately detect suspicious activities especially group activities that can be a potential venue for illegal drug use.

“Ang pinaka-primary natin concern, magtuon tayo ng pansin doon sa mga lugar kung saan posible may mga taong magdadala ng ilegal na droga. So alam naman natin pag party meron dyan party drugs. Kapag may kasiyahan kaakibat ang paggamit ng droga,” said PDEA-7 Director Wardley Getalla.

Specifically, the PDEA-7 will closely monitor seaports and airports in Cebu to prevent any entry of illegal drugs in the province.

“Alam naman natin yung influx ng mga passenger kasi pagka merong festival madami. So posible may magpasok din ng droga so hihigpitan natin yung mga port of entry lalo na yung ating major seaport at airport,” Getalla added.

The agency reminds party goers to immediately notify them of any suspicious activity or person. Parents are likewise advised to monitor their minors’ whereabouts and the people they hang out with to ensure their safety. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Gladys Toabi)

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49 individuals charged over P11-B shabu smuggling case except Lapeña

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

 

The magnetic lifters that allegedly concealed 1,618 kilograms of illegal drugs valued at P11-billion

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has filed charges against 49 individuals involved in the billion-peso shabu shipment concealed inside four magnetic lifters that slipped Customs screening in August.

Former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, however, was not among the respondents because according to PDEA, there wasn’t any strong evidence to prove Lapeña’s direct involvement in the transactions.

“We haven’t seen any evidence that will link directly former commissioner Lapeña sa mga kaso and that is why he was not included in filing of the case,” Aquino said.

“After this we will provide copies to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, (and) maybe with the Ombudsman.  I think they have more authority to file administrative cases,” he added.

Among the main respondents in the complaint are some officials of PDEA, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to include Former Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto; Former PDEA Dir. Gen. For Administration Ismael Gonzales Fajardo; Former Customs Intelligence Agent Jimmy Guban; Police Inspector Lito Pirote; and Joseph Dimayuga for alleged conspiracy and negligence in handling of the said shipment.

The PDEA noted that they included Guban in the case despite him being under the state’s witness protection program.

“We actually consider him as principal person of interest or suspect so I don’t think we will recommend his inclusion in the WPP,’ said Director IV Czareanah Aquino of the PDEA Legal Prosecution Service

In a text message, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured to get into the root of the matter.

“We’ll evaluate the matter seriously,” he said.

The case stemmed from the inquiry conducted by both Houses of Congress which revealed names of personalities, including some Chinese nationals, corporate entities and high-ranking PDEA officials allegedly involved in the said illegal transaction.

A total of 335 kilograms of shabu were discovered in August 7, 2018 at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

A day after, a similar shipment estimated at 1,618 kilograms of illegal drugs valued at P11-billion were discovered concealed in four magnetic lifters inside an abandoned warehouse in Barangay F. Reyes, General Mariano Alvarez (GMA), Cavite . The series of operations yielded the biggest illegal drugs haul in the country to date. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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96 local execs to face anti-drug charges  – DILG

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2018

DILG officials

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) revealed on Monday (November 12) that a total of 96 local government officials are likely to face charges involvement in illegal drugs trade.

According to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, the agency is determined to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the publication of his watch list of drug personalities especially since the midterm polls are about three months away.

The DILG together with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is continuously verifying the said list of so called narco-politcians.

In fact, Año said some of the personalities in the list can already be charged based on evidence acquired by the agency.

The Secretary confirmed it involves some active congressmen.

“Iba ibang level iyan, mayroong cuddling, merong nagto-tolerate, merong mismong involved,” Año said.

“Ang sabi ko nga, PDEA ang maglalabas niyan. Sa akin, we’ll recommend na ilabas natin,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero dared the agency to just release the list in the spirit of fairness.

“Kung talagang tiwala sila, kumpyansa sila na may basehan ang listahan na iyon, bakit di nila ilabas para hindi lahat ng local na opisyal, hindi lahat ng congressman ay pagdududahan na nasa listahan o baka nasa listahan. Oportunidad na rin iyon sa sinuman na mapapangalagaan na linisin ang pangalan niya at kasuhan ang sinumang PDEA o DILG na maglalagay ng pangalan doon na walang basehan,” Escudero argued.

The Senator said it is up to the people to decide if an election aspirant is credible enough to be voted for a government position. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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