MASBATE CITY, Feb. 19 (PNA) -- Masbatenos have shown full trust and confidence in lawyer Lovely Abapo, provincial board member representing the second district of Masbate, after the raid on the Abapo residence suspected of having a drug laboratory at about 5:00 a.m. Feb. 14 by joint operatives of six law enforcement agencies.
Arrested in the raid at the residential compound of former mayor Bernardito "Bing" Abapo of Milagros, Masbate, in Sitio Cagba, Barangay Tugbo, were his son Bong and daughter Lovely.
Other members of the raiding team also simultaneously swooped down at the Secret Garden Resort in Barangay Nursery, this city, which is owned by Cherryboy Abapo, son of former mayor Cherry Abapo of San Fernando, Masbate.
As a result and to defend her innocence, Abapo on Monday delivered a privilege speech at the session hall of the Masbate Provincial Capitol.
“In the light of the events that took place last Saturday, Feb. 14, I would like to take this opportunity to answer the questions that have since circulated in the minds of the people of Masbate,” she said.
Abapo said that as a duly elected public official of the province she owes the truth to the people who have placed their trust in her.
“At around 5 in the morning, I woke up to a loud sound of banging at my door. So I opened the door and saw a lot of men, armed with guns and I saw my brother already restricted on the floor. Realizing that it was a search, I asked them if they had a search warrant, but nobody answered,” she claimed.
The lady board member said there was no clear notice as to the arresting men’s authority and no purpose was given.
”They asked my brother and I to go down with them but I saw some of them forcefully opening the doors of the master’s bedroom and the room in front of it. I told them I have the keys and that they did not need to forcefully open the room since we are more than willing to cooperate with them, however, using Thunderbolt CQB they forcibly opened both rooms,” Abapo narrated.
She said she called up their lawyer, Lowel Pillejera, and asked him to come.
At about 5:30 a.m. to 5:45 a.m., the lawmaker said Pillejera called her up and told her that he was already outside the compound but was refused entry.
“He was only allowed to enter the compound together with the barangay captain of Tugbo, a representative of the Department of Justice and the media at around 8:00 a.m., or after three hours from their initial entry. And that was the time that the search warrant was shown to us. I would like to stress that my name was not included as the subject of the search warrant,” Abapo stressed.
She said the operatives conducted a search but found no shabu or drugs or so-called shabu laboratory, but confiscated two guns and several live bullets and empty shells.
“I admit that although embarrassing and inconvenient, as law-abiding citizens, we followed the procedures and allowed ourselves to be taken into custody,” Abapo said.
At around 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., she recalled, they were taken to the city police station and were charged with violation of RA 10591 or the Act Providing for Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.
“It was in no way drug related as claimed in the national and local reports. But the same was dismissed during the inquest proceedings conducted on Sunday at around 6:00 p.m. for lack of probable cause as the complaint failed to establish that the seized firearms and ammunition were in fact unlicensed.
“Clearly, I speak in behalf of my brother, Hon. Lester S. Abapo, and I am saying that there is NO shabu laboratory in our residence. We do not do drugs. We were cleared of the accusations against us yesterday,” Abapo stressed.
She thanked God for watching over them and for letting the truth and the just prevail.
“I also wish to offer my gratitude to those who stood by us. To those who did not believe what they read on its face. To those who were not so quick to judge because as we all know a person is innocent until proven guilty,” the lady provincial lawmaker said.(PNA) CTB/FGS/NBT/CBD/PJN