Son of Manila village chief nabbed for drugs, firearms

Robie de Guzman   •   May 24, 2019   •   2720

(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.)

Gatchalian calls for stricter monitoring in schools after reports of illegal drug alternatives

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 2, 2019

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture Senator Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian has called for stricter monitoring in schools after reports of students allegedly using illegal drug alternatives such as “magic mushroom”.

In a statement, Gatchalian said that it is alarming to hear reports about high school students using psychedelic mushrooms or ‘magic mushrooms’ commonly found in rural areas as a form of illegal drugs substitute.

Department of Education (Deped) Secretary Leonor Briones said that several high school students were hospitalized after using the said illegal drug substitute.

Gatchalian also said that this incident needs to be investigated further in order to come up with a solution for the safety of the students in the country.

“Marami rin tayong dapat malaman. Gaano na karami ang naiulat na ganitong uri ng insidente? Paano natuklasan ito ng mga mag-aaral? Saan ito laganap? At ano-ano ang naging mga epekto nito sa ating mag-aaral? (We also have a lot to be learned. How many similar incidents were reported? How did students discover it [magic mushrooms]? Where is it rampant? What are its effects on our students?), ” he said.—AAC

PNP probes 9 missing children in Pasay, looks into possible drug involvement

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 27, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking into all the possible angles, including drug involvement, for the case of the nine missing children in Pasay City.

According to Pasay City Chief of Police PCol. Bernard Yang, one of the missing children is allegedly involved in illegal drugs and is listed on the drug watch list.

“Sa ngayon hindi po natin masasabi pa na may involment ang mga bata sa droga pero hindi po rin natin isinasantabi po iyan, (For now we cannot say that the children are involved in illegal drugs but we are not discounting the the possibility),” he said.

The PNP also belied reports that the missing children were recruited by leftist groups. Authorities also continue to coordinate with the parents for additional information including CCTV footage.

However, Yang lamented how the parents of the missing children went on social media to post about the case and not to the authorities.

“Sa totoo lang doon din po kami nagtataka mas nauna pa po pinost nila sa social media bago po nag-report sa amin, (To be honest we were wondering why they posted on social media first before reporting to us),” he said.

“Hindi tama na mag-post lamang sa [Facebook] ang kailangan pumunta agad sa mga kapulisan upang i-report ang mga pangyayari at mabigyan ng aksyon (It is not right to just post on Facebook, they first need to go to the police to report the incident),” Yang added.

Meanwhile, the PNP reminds parents to always check on their kids and always be aware of their whereabouts.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Palace warns Robredo against ‘revealing state secrets’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019

Malacañang has reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that Vice President Leni Robredo could be removed as the co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she reveals sensitive information about the drug war to foreign individuals and entities.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said revealing state secrets would be damaging to Filipino people.

“Not to mention that under Article 229 of the Revised Penal Code, such revelation of privileged information is a crime which has perpetual special disqualification from office, among its penalties,” he added.

Panelo said the president’s warning came when the vice president previously requested access to all data and documents relating to the government’s war on drugs.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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