Friday, July 14, 2017

Raps filed vs NBI exec, others tagged in Catanduanes drug trade

LEGAZPI CITY, July 5 -- Barely a year after the discovery of a "mega shabu laboratory" in Catanduanes, the Philippine National Police in Bicol finally filed charges against prominent personalities involved in the drug trade.

Chief Superintendent Ramon Melvin Buenafe, PNP Bicol regional director, personally flew to Catanduanes on Wednesday where he led the filing of the case in the local court against prominent personalities which include: NBI Director Atty. Augusto Eric C. Isidoro alias “Tay Eric”; Atty. Ulpiano Sarmiento;

Raymond Lee, Jardin Brian B. Wong, a.k.a. Bobong Wong; Joseph Al Randie B. Wong alias Tiptip Wong; Constantino Huit Cordial, Jr; Snooky Imperial; a certain Mr. Lee; Allan Ang Hung; Xian Xian Wang; Pido Bonito; Noel Sampag alias Bert and Angelica Balmadrid Isidoro, common law wife of Atty. Augusto Eric C. Isidoro. Other persons charged in court were Paulo Uy, Jayson Gonzales Uy, Paolo Wee Palison, Lorenzo Floree Pinera alian Kidot; Phung Yuan Estorco, Sheng Wang Tore; Ruel Samonte, Dennes Samonte; John and Peter Does as accessory of drug trade operations.

Buenafe said because of the very good performance of the Catanduanes PPO and the discovery of the clandestine shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) lab, the PRO5 was chosen as the Best Police Regional Office among the 18 regions'.

"Catanduanes PPO should continue their best effort in the investigation to find other possible suspects and to stop the drug menace in the province," Buenafe said.

Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua, in an interview, told PNA that he was exonerated by the statements of the witness. He urged the Catanduanes PPO to continue the fight against hard drugs and promised that the provincial government will always be supportive to them.

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Jeffrey Fernandez was replaced by Senior Supt. Felix Servita Jr. as provincial director of Catanduanes PPO in simple turnover ceremonies held inside the conference hall of Camp Francisco Camacho.

Governor Cua who was the guest of honor, said that, "In this campaign and under my leadership, we will give an all out support. Let this be a day to be remembered, a day when we will declare an all out war on illegal drugs as well as say no and we hate and condemn this lingering menance in our society."

On November 26, 2016, PNP Bicol uncovered the biggest shabu laboratory in Barangay Palta Small, Virac town at the property of Angelica Balmadrid, common-law wife of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Eric Isidoro.

Isidoro was head of the NBI’s anti-drug unit during the time of Justice Secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima. The warehouse is leased to a certain Jason Uy, alias “Paulo Uy,” reportedly a Chinese.

The shabu laboratory was found with six hydrogenators, 329 kilos of ephedrine hydrochloride and other materials for making shabu. It was said to be the biggest shabu factory in the region but only uncovered following President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

Earlier, Chief Supt. Melvin Buenafe filed charges against Lawrence Flores Pinera, caretaker of the shabu facility in Virac, Catanduanes for violation of Republic Act 9165.

Governor Cua was implicated by his political rivals in the operations of the mega shabu laboratory but he denied the accusation.

Following the discovery of mega shabu laboratory in Catanduanes, the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs headed by Rep. Ace Barbers conducted a legislative inquiry to look into the involvement of local officials in the drug trade.

The House probe was conducted at the Catanduanes State University auditorium after Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the committee on transportation and telecommunication, filed a bill to look into the drug trade operation in his province.

Cua, who was implicated in the drug trade by his political opponents in 2004, was not invited by the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs to the inquiry.

Cua said that Sarmiento was his former campaign manager in 2004 when he ran for public office but lost to former Governor Leandro Verceles. Cua said that it was Gov. Verceles who implicated him in the drug trade to ruin his name and political career but it was not proven as it was all false allegations.

Due to this, Cua asked the NBI to conduct an independent probe of the presence of a shabu laboratory on the island to ferret out the truth.

Now that the case was filed against the prominent personalities, Cua said that his name was cleared over the operations of mega shabu laboratory. (Jorge Hallare and Rhaydz Barcia/PNA)