ORMOC CITY – 11 people were arrested including three minors and a 21-year old mentally impaired man, in a buy bust operation led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) at Brgy. Tambulilid, this city, on November 13, at around 4:30 in the afternoon.
The bust was done in cooperation with Ormoc City cops who were informed of the PDEA operations only at the right time, when they were about to swoop down the place.
Confiscated in the bust were 180 grams of methampethamine hydrochloride, commonly known as shabu, with an estimated market value of P 1.44-million at P 8,000 per gram. The shabu found included three pieces of big plastic sachets (bulto) and 41 small sachets (repacked) ready for distribution.
Liza Fabi-Baoy, PDEA information officer, said aside from the bulk of the drugs which were found by the operatives in plain view at the house of their target, some were found in the possession of three of the suspects, including the two minors.
Arrested were Julie Areño y Tuvera, 30; Bikal Boatan y Pagopig, 69; Jundy Songahid y Salinas, 35; Leonardo Cesar y Batican, 19; Rodulfo Villotis, Jr. y Sitoy; Dioscoro Batucan Jr. y Gablino, 30; Romel Sepe Jr y Mondejar, 26 and four minors whose names cannot be divulged.
Only one of those arrested, Julie Areño, would be charged for selling, said Baoy. Others would face charges of visiting a drug den or being “employees” or both.
Baoy said Julie Areño was the one whom their asset bought the drugs from, during the bust. In an attempt to escape arrest, the woman ran into the house of Faidah Bao, who was the PDEA’s real target.
It was in pursuit of Areño that the PDEA operatives saw the drugs and paraphernalia on the table of Bao’s house, in plain view. Bao, however, was able to escape through a backdoor.
The other subjects, said Baoy, were also caught in the vicinity. Two of the minors were found to have shabu with them.
Baoy said operatives who swooped down at the neighborhood said selling of shabu in the neighborhood had already obviously become a livelihood program. As they were closing on Bao’s house, several residents came near them, practically begging them to buy from them instead.
The barangay is one of Ormoc’s “hot spots” when it comes to drugs and gambling.
A few months ago, a buy bust of local cops that went bad resulted in the deaths of three people who were inside an illegal cockpit that had been operating there for three weeks already. The illegal cockpit was being run allegedly by the drug lord in the locality, who has since relocated.
However, barangay chairman Max Jaballa Jr., before the prosecutor who is now investigating the said incident, claims he did not know the existence of the cockpit, contradicting the statement of Ch. Insp. Encina that it was very visible from the road.
In a phone interview with PDEA OIC director Laurefel P. Gabales, he said that the Tambulilid bust is so far the biggest in the region after Yolanda. He also commended his men for a job well done, saying that the bust was the fruit of a tedious surveillance. “Our orders are to clean the place (Ormoc) of drugs,” he said. By Lalaine M. Jimenea, Mel Caspe & Paul Libres