Drug dens in a busy PH public market busted

PHILIPPINE illegal drug dealers are more daring and fearless than ever despite the already more than 7,000 death toll brought about by the Duterte administration’s anti-drug war.

This was learned by Beyond Deadlines after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Saturday reported the busting of four suspected drug dens and the arrest of eight alleged den maintainers and 22 suspected drug users in the parking lot of the busy Paco Public Market in Manila early this week. The dismantling of the drug dens also led to the rescue of seven minors who were allegedly used as drug couriers.

“It is becoming more troubling that illegal drugs are open to the public and loosely sold. But PDEA will continue to be ever vigilant and will not let up on its aggressive pursuit of its mandate under the law,” said PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña.

Lapeña said his men, in coordination with the local police force, conducted the anti-drug operation along Pedro Gil Street in Paco early this week following an intense surveillance of the area.

He said a team of anti-drug operatives led by PDEA Regional Office-National Capital Region (PDEA RO-NCR) Director Wilkins Villanueva on Monday afternoon swooped down on the dens which were setup in a semi-permanent structure and three huts or “kubols” on the parking lot.

Lapeña  identified the alleged den maintainers as Marichu Sagcal, 38; Juanito Ropa Elizalde, alias Buboy, 41; Brendalyn Usi, alias Dalyn, 39; Noel Acido, 43; Maricris Ayson, 41; Joel Principe Permejo, 40; Christopher Calixto, alias Tupeng, 39; and Ali Madid, 57, all residents of Paco, Manila.

Seized during the operations,  Lapeña said, were a total of 64 transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, weighing approximately 51 grams, with an estimated market value of P208,000 and various drug paraphernalia.

Also taken into custody were suspected drug users/customers who were identified as Emetrio Sagcal, 64; Rizelle Doce, 42; Mario Gremtam, 57; Engelbert Acido, 24; Edwin Garcia, 31; Araceli Angeles, 53; Rolando Virginia, 55; Vicente Ganadores, 39; Nestor Gutierrez, 58; Jackielou Elizalbe, 28; Angelita Espinosa, 51; May Astorga, 36; Jackilyn Usi, 27; Vicky Lesigwes, 34; Rosfel Abrenica, 25; Dino Cuaño, alias Mongs, 26; Alpacino Guillermo, 24; Jovito Abejo, 49; Sharmaine delos Santos, 23; Melissa Cortez, 53; Angelie Matematico, 27; and Julie Ann Gramtam, 22. They were placed under custody after the raiding team caught them during the anti-drug operation inside the dens.

Rescued were seven minors, aged 14 to 17 years old and an 11-month old baby boy. They were turned over to Crisis Intervention Unit of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Lapeña said the alleged maintainers will be charged with violation of Section 6 (Maintenance of a Drug Den), Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 12 (Possession of Drug Paraphernalia), Article II, of Republic Act 9165 (The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) while cases of violation of Section 7 (Visitors of a Drug Den) of the anti-drug law will filed against the alleged drug den patrons. 

Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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