PRESIDENT Duterte is set to meet the 12 kids rescued by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in a raid on three notorious drug dens inside the Navotas City Fish Port last Wednesday, said PDEA chair, Director General Aaron N. Aquino.
The PDEA chief said that he was told by the President that he almost cried when he saw a video of the minors rescued in the operation, the youngest of them only 4 years old.
The retired police general also denied that the rescued minors were maltreated by his men contrary to a viral video post which alleged that the kids were mishandled by officers.
Aquino said photos which claimed the children were being paraded actually showed them heading to the vehicle of authorities after the rescue.
PDEA spokesman, Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon said that all 12 rescued kids were brought by officers of the PDEA Special Enforcement Service led by Director Levi Ortiz to the Bahay Pag-Asa in Navotas City for temporary safekeeping at 12:30 a.m. Thursday.
“One of them even sought for a Cobra energy drink claiming he wants another high. Bumaba na daw ang tama niya pagkatapos silang ma-rescue,” Carreon said.
The PDEA spokesperson said that the 4-year old kid rescued during the operation turned out to have another brother being held at the same Navotas City shelter house for minors after they were also brought in there by local authorities for involvement in illegal drug use.
It also turned out that two of the kids rescued were siblings who also had a brother being housed in the same government-run shelter for juvenile delinquents, mostly streetchildren being accosted for illegal drugs.
On Wednesday, members of the PDEA stormed a slum area inside the Navotas City fish post which has gained the unsavory reputation of being a drug lair and arrested 16 suspects, Aquino said.
The official said that the operation conducted by members of the PDEA-SES also led in the rescue of 12 minors, the eldest of them only 15 and the youngest barely 4-years old and the dismantling of at least three drug dens where shabu can be bought and used outright for a fee.
Aquino said that the main target of the anti-narcotics operation identified as Nelson Limpin,34; and five women including Michelle Pielago, alias’ Mommy,’36, were among those arrested during the operation which was triggered by complaints that drug traffickers in the area were already using kids as their ‘runners/couriers.’
The official said they have also information that some of the children have also learned to take drugs while in the company of the suspects.
At least 44 heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and various drug paraphernalia were recovered during the raids. The arrested suspects were immediately taken to the PDEA national headquarters in Quezon City for booking and filing of charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The rescued kids will be placed under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development after documentation, Aquino said.
He added that they will summon local barangay officials and the parents and guardians of the rescued children for a talk.