Archive for the ‘drug problem’ Category

Agusan del Norte News: Cops raid shabu tiangge in Agusan del Sur

March 12, 2014

AGUSAN DEL SUR – Operatives of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency raided a “shabu tiangge” in Barangay Taglatawan, Bayugan City on Saturday, which led to the arrest of four suspects.

The authorities were armed with 19 search warrants when they raided the compound of a Muslim village from Buri Street to Durian Street, following reports that there is a shabu tiangge or drug den in the area.

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Editorial Cartoon: The Recruit

March 5, 2009

anti-drug-move

Editorial Cartoon: Drug Addict

February 3, 2009

labay-on-drugs

Hehehehehe! Tsungki!

Palparan Appointment ‘Alarming’

February 2, 2009

By Alan Davis
Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project

Any casual observer of Philippine society wanting to know if the government is sincerely committed to improving human rights probably need only to wait and see if retired major general Jovito Palparan becomes strategic adviser to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

If it happens, it would suggest, to borrow a phrase from US President Barack Obama’s inauguration address last week, that the Philippine government is sitting ‘on the wrong side of history.’

Without a doubt it would be a backward step. The fact that it is even being seriously discussed says a great deal.

Media reports from late last week have been suggesting the chief reason Malacanang Palace is interested in appointing the general to a strategic position in the DDB is because he can try and apply his ‘experience of counter-insurgency’ against the drug gangs.

What might this mean?

Well, one need only look at the human rights charges leveled against Palparan and what happened in Thailand in 2003 when authorities there similarly declared war on the drug gangs. The military were unleashed and the campaign reportedly resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2,500-3,000 people.

Summary killings were rife and the campaign was roundly and loudly condemned by the international human rights community. Bizarrely, the then government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat announced a similar new anti-drugs campaign late last year in Thailand. His government however fell before it got around implementing the policy.

The Philippines is not Thailand – but there are creeping parallels here –one being the insidious power of the military. This increasingly seems to be a civilian government led by ex-generals as a glance around the cabinet table clearly shows.

Drugs are a curse on Philippine society as they are elsewhere. An effective drugs policy needs to be developed –and that is no easy thing. But we expect government policy to be more than popular vigilantism. We don’t need the kind of justice doled out by the likes of Dirty Harry. If the government is really serious about human rights it will tackle the drug problem through the rule of law, not the barrel of the gun.

Given the claims against Palparan –claims to be fair the general denies– the authorities should not be considering his reappointment to a position of power. As a simple indicator on the government’s commitment to human rights, it says it all.

Alan Davis is the director of the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project and a director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting special projects(PinoyPress)

What P2.6M bank deposit? asks DOJ undersecretary

January 28, 2009

JUSTICE Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor yesterday denied allegations he received a P2.6-million to push for the release of the so-called Alabang boys from detention.

Reports coming from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency earlier said there was a second bribery at the Department of Justice, apart from the P800,000 allegedly deposited in the bank account of state prosecutor John Resado, investigating fiscal who dismissed the drug charges against Richard Brodett, Joseph Tecson and Jorge Joseph on Dec. 2, 2008.

Reports said a ranking DOJ official on December 19 took out a loan of P2,642,187.23 from the head office of Metrobank in Makati. On the same day, another person paid for the loan with P2,644,438.92, including fee and day interest of P2,251.70.

In a phone patch interview over dzMM, Blancaflor said he felt alluded to by the reports and denied that he has a bank account at Metrobank in Makati. What he got, he said, was just a housing loan, which he said he could not have gotten without a bank account.

“Absolutely none. Wala akong tinanggap na deposito at wala akong binayad na P2.6 million. Mali ‘yun. Kaya nagtataka ako. Walang pumasok na P2.6 million, wala ring binayad na P2.6 million on Dec. 19 or in any other time. Kahit kalian, walang pumasok sa account ko,” he said.

Blancaflor said the bank account being identified by unidentified sources was actually the serial number of his promissory note for his housing loan.

Blancaflor, who is still on forced leave pending investigation, got caught in the bribery scandal following the revelation of Maj. Ferdinand Marcelino, chief of the Special Enforcement Service of the PDEA, that Blancaflor called him up on December 19.

Blancaflor has admitted making the call, but said he only inquired about the continuing detention of the suspects when a resolution has already been issued dismissing the charges.

The suspects were arrested in separate buy-bust operations in September last year Quezon City and Muntinlupa. PDEA agents found Ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine in their possession. – Evangeline de Vera(Malaya)

Prosecutor declines to open bank accounts

January 28, 2009

BY WENDELL VIGILIA

STATE prosecutor John Resado is not willing to open his bank accounts for scrutiny in light of allegations he was bribed to dismiss criminal charges against the so-called Alabang boys.

In a letter to the House oversight committee on dangerous drugs which is investigating the alleged bribery, Resado said he was declining to waive his rights, also invoking his constitutional right to privacy.

Resado, when he returned to testify before the committee last Friday, denied allegations contained in an anonymous letter that he deposited P800,000 on Dec. 2, 2008 in his account with the Banco de Oro SM Bacoor branch in Bacoor, Cavite, the same day he came out with a joint inquest resolution dismissing the drug charges against Richard Brodett, Joseph Tecson and Jorge Joseph who were arrested in September last year.

The same letter said Resado’s wife also received the same amount on the same day but Resado has denied it, saying the P800,000 in his account was a revolving fund from their money lending business.

(Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor yesterday said there was no P2.6 million deposited in his bank account, belying allegations he received a bribe to push for the release of the so-called Alabang Boys. Story on Page 3)

Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Lakas, Cebu), senior vice chair of the committee, said Resado’s refusal is “proof that he is hiding something.”

“Resado is afraid that his wrongdoings will be exposed,” he said.

Cuenco also said if the committee would not be able to pin Resado on bribery charges, it will use other options.

He said the committee will go after Resado Al Capone style, referring to what the FBI did to the Italian-American gangster of the 1920s and 30s whose criminal career ended with charges of tax evasion.

He said Resado did not report the income from the money lending business in his statement of assets and liabilities or income tax return.

“There is no permit from the Central Bank on his lending business and his business has been overcharging. The Supreme Court said the interest rates should not be more than 1.5 percent per month,” Cuenco added.(Malaya)

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My Take:

While I agree that Resado must be tried for any wrongdoing he did, I can not help but raise my eyebrows in mockery to the House of Representatives’ obvious maneuvering to throw in the blanket to protect the PDEA.  Watching the House inquiry on this matter convinces me that the House is not inquiring about the circumstances lying around the “Alabang Boys incident”.  Instead, they busy themselves on ruining Resado’s credibility and not accepting the possibility that Resado is actually saying an inch of truth.

The House panel has obviously reached a verdict.  They believe that GMA’s men Santiago and Gonzalez must be cleaned.  And the only way to do that is to make the public believe that the PDEA and DOJ is clean white and the only dirty being is Resado.

Kawawang Resado.  Tsk tsk tsk!

No PDEA post but Palparan was briefed

January 26, 2009

By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:36:00 01/26/2009

Filed Under: Illegal drugs

MANILA, Philippines—Although he hasn’t been asked to join the war on drugs, retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan has been briefed on the workings of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency by no less than PDEA chief Dionisio Santiago, himself a retired general.

Santiago said he could make Palparan his deputy for “special concerns” in case the controversial former military officer is appointed to the PDEA by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We will discuss with him how best we can utilize him at PDEA,” Santiago told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday in a phone interview.

Santiago said he gave Palparan an overview of what PDEA does during a briefing last week. Afterward, he said, the retired general “seemed to like” the idea of joining the agency.

Prior to the briefing, Santiago said President Arroyo had phoned him to tell him to expect a call from Palparan.

Incoming Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, however, said Sunday Palparan’s appointment to PDEA or the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) was not set in stone.

“It’s not yet sure so to make any conclusions at this point would be speculative,” Remonde said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.

Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon on Saturday opposed Palparan’s possible appointment to PDEA, saying it would “only draw criticism and dilute whatever public support the government has in the fight against illegal drugs.”

Palparan had been branded a “berdugo” (butcher) by left-leaning groups that accused him of being behind the alleged abduction, torture and execution of their comrades when he was in the military service.

Asked about Palparan’s spotty human rights record, Santiago said he thought the retired general would do well in the fight against illegal drugs.

“You give me people, I’ll utilize them and judge them according to how they will perform,” Santiago said.

He said DDB Chair Vicente “Tito” Sotto III had also expressed interest in getting Palparan on the drugs board representing a non-government organization.

Santiago said Palparan’s network in the communities would benefit the PDEA. He said Palparan could do “advocacy” work and warn the public about the evils of drug abuse.

Gonzalez remark on Marcelino ‘dangerous’

January 16, 2009

Tamano: ‘It could be used to overturn drug cases’

By Christian V. Esguerra, Jocelyn Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:38:00 01/16/2009

MANILA, Philippines—The political opposition branded as “dangerous” the statement made by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez questioning the inclusion of military men in the fight against the drug menace.

“If Secretary Gonzalez is right, then it could be a basis for overturning all cases and convictions stemming from anti-drug operations,” opposition spokesperson Adel Tamano said.

If he were a defense lawyer in a drug case, he could use Gonzalez’s statement in asking that the case be dismissed “because the case is unconstitutional. So the statement of the secretary of justice is very dangerous,” Tamano said.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez said Gonzalez had “sabotaged” the operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“In apparently spiting an agency he now considers a nemesis, he forgot his role in the fight against illegal drugs. With him at the justice department’s helm, PDEA’s operations have been neutered,” the lawmaker said.

After Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors dismissed the charges against drug suspects Richard Brodett Jr., Jorge Joseph and Joseph Tecson, the PDEA claimed that it had received information the prosecutors had been bribed.

The agency’s allegation triggered a word war between PDEA and justice officials.

Palace: Constructive opinion

But Malacañang does not find anything wrong with the statement of Gonzalez that Maj. Ferdinand Marcelino’s participation in operations of the PDEA is “unconstitutional.”

Marcelino is the head of the PDEA Special Enforcement Service that arrested the so-called Alabang Boys in separate buy-bust operations in September last year.

Anthony Golez, deputy presidential spokesperson, Thursday said Gonzalez’s opinion was “constructive” and in fact should prompt the PDEA to review its policy of tapping soldiers as narcotics agents.

Reacting to Gonzalez’s statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Marcelino’s assignment to the PDEA was covered by a circular and was in line with Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres Jr., AFP spokesperson, said RA 9165 empowered the PDEA to enlist the support of government agencies and other offices, including the AFP, to support the agency’s drive against illegal drugs.

Covered by orders

A day after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered a ceasefire between the PDEA and the DOJ, Gonzalez came out swinging again, saying Marcelino had no business participating in the agency’s operations.

Gonzalez argued that as a soldier in active service, Marcelino was barred from holding another position in a civilian government agency.

Torres Thursday said the deployment of Marcelino to the PDEA was covered by appropriate orders, including a circular signed six years ago by then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Dionisio Santiago, now the PDEA chief.

The specific AFP regulations on the assignment of active officers to various government agencies have been incorporated into Circular No. 2 issued on March 12, 2003, according to Torres.

The circular prescribed that active officers could be detailed either as an aide-de camp, a security officer or a military assistant, Marcelino’s designation in the PDEA.

The circular described a military assistant as a commissioned officer of the AFP detailed to a civilian agency for “the purpose of lending professional or technical know-how regarding military matters.”

But not more than 0.5 percent of the total number of active officers and not more than 0.2 percent of the enlisted personnel corps could be deployed outside the military organization.

Soldiers deployed to civilian offices are placed under the AFP’s Headquarters Service Command, according to Torres.

“As far as the Armed Forces is concerned, our actions in detailing our personnel are covered by the circular,” he told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

“So it means that the deployment of Major Marcelino and other officers is covered by a specific regulation of the military,” he said.

The circular, of which only the first page was provided to reporters, was signed by Santiago and then adjutant general, retired Capt. Cesar Carranza, as ordered by the defense secretary.

Torres pointed out that the 2003 circular was issued following the enactment of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Torres also cited other laws supporting the deployment of active military officers to government offices, which included President Ferdinand Marcos’ Executive Order No. 41 issued in 1966 and President Joseph Estrada’s memo issued in 1999.

The memo, dated Jan. 27, 1999, prohibited the assigning of military personnel outside the AFP without prior approval of the President.

Torres said the appointment of Marcelino to the PDEA post was approved by the President.

He added that it was either the President or the defense secretary who approved the assignment of active officers to various government offices.

Asked if Gonzalez’s comment on Marcelino compromised any legal action against the Alabang Boys, deputy spokesperson Golez said: “The justice secretary just aired his concern on that matter.”

“But in the meantime, government lawyers will be seriously studying the opinion verbally issued by the justice secretary,” he said.

Asked if Malacañang would censure Gonzalez for apparently violating the verbal truce, Golez said: “He knows what he’s doing.”

Drug czar for 2 weeks

Better coordination between the DOJ and the PDEA was among the marching orders of Ms Arroyo when she declared herself the country’s “drug czar” Tuesday until the bribery controversy was resolved.

Golez said Ms Arroyo would remain in that post for two weeks during which she would make sure that the “house is in order.”

“That is the most important thing,” he said, “for the law enforcers and prosecutors to make sure that they are in sync.” With reports from Alcuin Papa and Philip C. Tubeza

Gonzalez: Marcelino’s acts not valid

January 16, 2009

By Dona Pazzibugan, Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:49:00 01/15/2009

Filed Under: PDEA-DOJ bribery issue, Illegal drugs, Government offices & agencies, Military

MANILA, Philippines—Marine Maj. Ferdinand Marcelino’s drug-bust operations for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) could be considered “unconstitutional” since active duty military officers like him are barred from holding position in a government agency, according to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez.

“As far as I’m concerned the acts done when you’re not authorized should not have any bearing whatsoever (because) you have no authority,” Gonzalez told reporters Wednesday.

He quoted Article XVI Sec. 5 paragraph 4 of the Constitution that provides that no active military officer may be appointed to any capacity in any civilian office including government agencies.

Marcelino said he was appointed to the post by Malacañang when the PDEA was beginning to build an organic staff and rise from an agency of borrowed personnel.

Marcelino said he was only following orders when assigned to the agency in 2007.

“Marines just go where we are told,” Marcelino told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Wednesday.

The soldier, who had seen action in Mindanao, said he got the assignment on the request of the PDEA and that his detail went through the hierarchy of approving offices: The Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters, the Department of National Defense, and finally, Malacañang.

“It’s not up to us where we will be assigned. We can’t choose where we will be assigned,” he said.

Besides heading the agency’s Special Enforcement Service, Marcelino is also chief of the International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs Service and the Interagency Counternarcotics Operations Network.

Two other military officers, both Marcelino’s “mistahs” (classmates) in the Philippine Military Academy’s Bantay Laya class of 1994, hold key positions at the PDEA—one is acting director of PDEA’s Plans and Operations Service and the other, an army major, handles intelligence.

The soldiers also handle training of recruited agents.

Teodoro brought up question

Gonzalez said Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro brought up the question over Marcelino’s authority to work in the PDEA at the Cabinet meeting Tuesday in which the controversy was discussed.

“Secretary Teodoro mentioned that he (Marcelino) is an active military officer (and) he is covered by the Constitution. That is a specific provision of the law. So if you would analyze that, all his acts are illegal. Unconstitutional and illegal,” Gonzalez said.

It was the PDEA Special Enforcement Service headed by Marcelino that arrested Richard Brodett Jr., Jorge Joseph and Joseph Tecson—the so-called Alabang Boys—in separate buy-bust operations in September last year.

Marcelino disclosed that he was offered bribes ranging from P3 million to P20 million for the release of the suspects. He said he rejected the offers.

Independent probe

The PDEA also claimed that a P50-million bribe led to the dismissal of the drug possession charges against the suspects, prompting a word war between the PDEA and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Even as the prosecutors vehemently denied the allegation, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered five justice officials and prosecutors to go on leave pending an “independent” investigation.

“I never raised this to the President because if it came from me it would be colored. It came about in the course of the (Cabinet) discussion. It was Secretary Teodoro who reacted,” Gonzalez said.

Asked if the arrest of the Alabang Boys could be considered void because Marcelino was the lead agent, Gonzalez said the matter could be questioned in court by the suspects.

“That’s now the subject of investigation and it has been raised before the Court of Appeals,” he said.

“I’m just saying that under the Constitution, he’s disqualified (from working in PDEA) because he’s an active duty (military) officer,” Gonzalez added.

Resign

“If he wants to stay in the PDEA, he should resign from the Armed Forces,” Gonzalez said.

“All the operations handled by Major Marcelino (in PDEA) could be considered invalid, unconstitutional unless you can consider that as a de facto act,” the justice secretary added.

“I don’t think the President can refuse to accept that because that is the Constitution,” Gonzalez added.

Told that active duty military officers were serving in other government offices, Gonzalez said this was the lookout of the heads of the government agencies involved.

Gonzalez said PDEA Director General Dionisio Santiago, a former military chief of staff, could enlist the assistance of anyone except an active duty military officer.

“He can enlist under him (exiled communist party founder) Joma Sison,” Gonzalez quipped.

He said that at the Cabinet meeting, he confronted Santiago for failing to substantiate his claim that a P50-million bribery took place after the arrest of the Alabang Boys.

Charges of bribery have become a major point of debate after Santiago himself admitted at a hearing in the House of Representatives last week that the PDEA floated the P50-million alleged bribe in the media as part of its “psy-war” tactics against the DOJ prosecutors.

Study procedures

“That’s why they have to be properly educated on all procedures required under the (anti-illegal drugs) law,” the justice secretary said.

Right at the inquest, State Prosecutor John Resado already dismissed the drug possession charges against the three suspects due to lapses in the PDEA’s arrest procedure.

Reveal classmate’s name

The dismissal of the charges was upheld upon review by two more state prosecutors and ultimately by Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño, who has strongly denied any wrongdoing in the process.

In the House of Representatives, the committee on dangerous drugs is urging Marcelino to expose in public his mistah who offered him “tatlong manok (three chickens)” or P3 million to drop the charges against the Alabang Boys.

“He (Marcelino) has to eventually grapple with his gut in revealing who is this classmate of his who made the proposal. This is the gap in his otherwise brilliant testimony. His continued refusal will crack his credibility,” Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez said at Wednesday’s committee meeting.

Golez’s proposal for Marcelino to reveal his mistah’s identity to the Office of the Ombudsman was adopted by the committee.

Golez said that it would be better that the Ombudsman take over the bribery probe because Marcelino might have qualms about cooperating with the National Bureau of Investigation, which is under the DOJ.

Marcelino revealed to Golez and other committee members the identity of his classmate in PMA Class of 1994 during an executive session last week.

Senior State Prosecutor Phillip Kimpo, vice chair of the DOJ’s Task Force on Anti-Illegal Drugs, accused Marcelino of “covering up” for his mistah, saying his refusal to name him was “suspicious.” With a report from Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.

Pampanga cops eye charges against judgeover large shabu haul

October 9, 2008

By George Trillo

FLORIDABLANCA, Pampanga – The provincial police director said he might file charges of “abuse of discretion” against a court judge who junked the police’s petition for a search warrant on padlocked buildings in a compound that yielded shabu and paraphernalia in a raid in Barangay Consuelo here Wednesday.

“How can we build up cases if things end up this way?” provincial police chief Senior Supt. Keith Singian Singian asked. after Executive Judge Pamela Anne Maxino of the Regional Trial Court in
Guagua denied the police’s petition for search warrants.

He said the padlocked buildings could contain more evidences to build up stronger cases against the suspects, most of whom have yet to be caught.

On Sept. 24, the Pampanga police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency raided a suspected shabu laboratory in Barangay Consuelo operated by three Chinese nationals identified as Peter Pei, Caroline Dy and Eugene Bao.

Singian said initially, police were merely responding to a land dispute in the area after a former worker from Iraq came home to find out that his property was occupied by foreigners after some error in cadastral surveys.

The policemen, however, saw from the outside shabu paraphernalia inside the building, prompting them to raid the site. They then contacted the PDEA for a planned raid.

Some P1.4 million worth of chemical substances such as chloroform, pyridine and other drug precursors and several equipment used in manufacturing shabu were confiscated by the raiding team. “I am surprised that the judge denied us the search warrant,” Singian said.

He said the judge even called for the testimony of the chemist of the PDEA pending the petition, but he noted “she didn’t even ask one question.”

“We are studying whether we should file abuse of discretion charges against her, perhaps before the Ombudsman,” he added.

Meanwhile, cops have been assigned to secure the two buildings which could contain more evidence against the suspects in Wednesday’s raid.

The maintainers of the shabu laboratory, mostly Chinese nationals, have remained at large. Three of them were identified already. (NorthernPhilippineTimes)

Big-time drug lords using child couriers

September 15, 2008

By Dexter A. See

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet — Police and anti-narcotics operatives here have intensified operations against big-time drug syndicates which are using minors as pushers and couriers.

The campaign against drug syndicates came after the arrest of a 17-year-old boy from Cavite who was found in possession of “shabu” worth at least P140,000.

Last week, agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Cordillera arrested the boy from Cavite after he tried to sell 10 grams of “shabu” during a “buy-bust” operation in front of the Quezon Elementary School here.

Chief Supt. Eugene G. Martin, director of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera, said there is an urgent need to step up the joint police-PDEA operations against big-time drug syndicates operating in this city to spare the youth from the ill-effects of drugs.

Investigators said the arrested minor delivered “shabu” of various weights in the city at least three times.

The minor is believed to be a member of a big-time drug syndicate which is based in Dasmariñas, Cavite and which is involved in large-scale distribution and sale of shabu in Luzon.

Earlier, two women, also from Dasmarinas, were apprehended in this city for possession of shabu worth P165,000 in an entrapment operation conducted by PDEA agents and policemen.

At present, PDEA and police assets are tracking down the main source of the illegal drugs.

Martin said use of minors as couriers of illegal drugs by syndicates taking advantage of the leniency of the law on young offenders was alarming.

He said under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000 in relation to Republic Act 9344 and the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, youth offenders, aged 15 years old and below, are not criminally liable, while those 16 and 17 years old can be charged only upon proof of their discernment of the act upon assessment by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Under the same law, the use of minors as runners, couriers, and messengers, or in any other capacity directly connected to the dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, is an aggravating circumstance in drugs cases.

From January to August, this year, PDEA and other law-enforcement agencies in the region arrested six minors for drug-related crimes.

Martin said that collective efforts must be exerted to put a stop to the use of minors as couriers and pushers because it is jeopardizing the future of the youth. (NorthernPhilippineTimes)