Son of Manila village chief nabbed for drugs, firearms

Robie de Guzman   •   May 24, 2019   •   2543

(Left) NCRPO director Major General Guillermo Eleazar and Benedict Cortez alias JonJon (center) | Courtesy : NCRPO

MANILA, Philippines – Police on Friday arrested the son of a village chairman in Tondo, Manila, who is listed in the government’s “narco-list,” for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

Operatives of the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU), Manila Police District, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) served a search warrant on Benedict Cortez alias JonJon in his residence in Barangay 228 in Tondo at past 4 a.m.

The search warrant was issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18.

During the search operation, police found four plastic sachets containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, with a street value of more than P300,000, some drug paraphernalia, an unlicensed 12-gauge shotgun and live ammunitions of a .40 caliber gun.

In a media interview, NCRPO director Major General Guillermo Eleazar said Cortez is the son of village chief Ricardo Cortez, who was listed in the government’s narco-list as a high value target.

Eleazar also alleged that the village chief was using his son in peddling illegal drugs in the area.

“Well, considering na nasa narco list siya, eh talagang maingat na kung kaya’t itong anak niya ang nabalitaan natin na siyang naging isa sa mga nagtutulak ng mga droga sa lugar na ito at iyon ang ating hinainan ng search warrant,” he said.

Eleazar added that Cortez has also been suspected of being involved in past shooting incidents in Manila.

Police said Cortez will be charged for violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act in relation to the Omnibus Election Code.

Police also vowed to continue implementing the government’s war on drugs to arrest individuals linked to illegal drugs.

“Patuloy tayong magsasagawa ng operation against those who are involved in the drugs particularly ‘yung kasama sa narco list ng ating pamahalaan pati na rin ‘yung kanilang mga kamag-anak at kanilang mga koneksyon,” Eleazar said.

He also urged the public to report to the Philippine National Police hotline number 117 any suspicious and illegal activities in their areas. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Mayor Isko on Baseco drug raid: 35 arrested, 35 are alive

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2019

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso presents 35 drug suspects who were arrested in Baseco area. (Manila Public Information Office)

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Monday (Aug 5) presented 35 drug suspects who were arrested in Baseco area from July 22 to August 5.

“Out of the 35 arrested, 35 are alive,” according to Moreno. The suspects were arrested for either selling or using drugs.

He had previously given the Manila Police District (MPD) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) a week to clear Baseco Compound of illegal drugs and loose firearms.

The area has been branded as the most drug-infested village in the country.

“I hope this is just the beginning that Manila, with the help of God, is cleansed of drugs in every community,” he said.

Moreno also reiterated that he will not tolerate illegal drugs in Manila.

“We don’t tolerate them we don’t like them in our city, the capital of the country. I don’t like them selling and using drugs in the City of Manila,” he added.—AAC

Bato seeks to include substance abuse education in K-12 Program

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 19, 2019

Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa has filed a Senate bill that seeks to include substance abuse education in the K-12 program.

Based on his Senate Bill No. 228, substance abuse prevention education should be included from 4th Grade to the 12th Grade. This aims to equip students with sufficient knowledge and information about the dangers of substance abuse.

“The youth, once involved in drug abuse will likely have academic, relationship and health problems. This leads to lower grades, dropping out from schools and having damaged physical, cognitive and emotional development,” he said.

Based on the data of the Dangerous Drugs Board, there are 4.8 million Filipinos aged 10 to 69 who have used illegal drugs at least once in their lives.

The youngest drug surrenderer and youngest recorded minor rescued for substance abuse were seven-year-olds. —AAC

Duterte mulls another Customs revamp

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2019

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. | KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte hinted on axing more employees from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) due to another cycle of corruption in the agency.

“Iyan ang problema ng Pilipinas (That’s the problem in the Philippines). So I have three years. When I go back, I would be firing more from the Bureau of Customs” the President announced on Friday (July 5) during the inauguration of a rice processing center in Alangalang, Leyte.

He also mentioned his earlier proposal of bringing in the military into the BOC because of the rampant corruption and drug smuggling in the agency.

“I am just telegraphing. Then maybe ilagay ko na sa Army talaga lahat ‘yang nasa ano (Then maybe I’ll place the army there in [BOC]). Hindi na ako maniwala niyan (I don’t believe) they are not allowed to work,” Duterte said.

“Since I cannot depend on the idiots, what should I do? Follow the rule that itong mga army, police, hindi makadala. And if my country is sinking, you want me to follow a rule that cannot help my country? I will not,” he stressed.

It will be recalled that Senator Panfilo Lacson had earlier said corruption remained “business as usual” inside the BOC because the “tara system” and illegal shipments such as drug smuggling remain in operation.

In October 2018, President Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take over the BOC after billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs slipped past the Customs screening. – with details from Rosalie Coz

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