AGENTS of the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) yesterday morning arrested three ‘high-value individuals’ during an buy-bust operation in Mabalacat City in Pampanga which led in the seizure of 2.5 kilos of shabu worth P17 million, a report to PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan said.
PNP-DEG director, Brigadier Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr. identified the arrested suspects as Welson Sy Tan, Annabelle San Jose and Mary Joy Perfecto.
Caramat said that the trio were arrested after they conspired to sell the huge volume of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ to an undercover officer of the PNP-DEG at the parking area of Jollibee hamburger joint in Clark Center in Mabalacat City 10:30 in the morning.
Recovered from the suspects’ possession were several heat-sealed plastic bags containing the prohibited drugs and the marked money paid to them by the poseur.
Caramat said that the three are now undergoing questioning at their headquarters in Camp Crame and will be facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“We’re also conducting follow-up operations to identify and arrest the main source of the drugs seized from the three,” said the PNP-DEG director.
The Pampanga operation was the 1st major drug bust scored by the PNP-DEG under Gen. Cascolan who has ordered his men to account for more ‘high-value targets’ or the so-called ‘big fishes’ in the country’s illegal drug industry.
The challenge was made by the 24th PNP chief to his men led by the PNP-DEG whose men since November last year have already accounted for nearly P13 billion worth of shabu and several ‘HVTs’ as well as the different Drug Enforcement Units of the Police Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Police Stations.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 also agreed that ‘small-time’ drug personalities should be caught alive so they can spill the beans on their main source of shabu and other drugs as well as rogues in uniform who are in cahoots with them.
“Mas maganda ‘yung mga high-value individuals po ang mahuli. Gaya nga ho ng sinabi ko, these are our focus right now, internal cleansing and, at the same time, anti-drug campaign, we will see to it that we build-up cases against high-value individuals,” Cascolan said.
The new PNP chief said he wants his men to conduct anti-drug operations with the end in view of catching the ‘big fishes’ or the main suppliers, distributors, smugglers or manufacturers of prohibited drugs specifically shabu which remains the no. 1 drug of abuse in The Philippines.
“May mga huli-huli po tayo na maliliit na tao pero as much as possible gagamitin po natin sila para mahuli ang malalaking isda. I want a much stronger case build-up against these big-time drug lords,” he explained.
Gen. Cascolan vowed to continue evaluating their war on drugs to ensure that police officers are doing the right thing when conducting operations against illegal drugs.
He also vowed to spare no one, police officers included if they are found to be engaged in illegal drugs and other criminal activities. “Ang anti-drug campaign natin ay walang pinipili kahit sinuman. Kahit sinuman ho ay aarestuhin namin basta bina-violate niya po ang anti-drug campaign,” he said. He added that he wants the capital punishment for ‘HVTs’ specifically drug lords or operators and maintainers of clandestine drug laboratories and shabu smugglers as well as convicted rapists.
“Ang case buildup po ay hindi lang ho dapat sa maliliit. Kailangan po natin ng kooperasyon ng mga tao para lamang ho makuha itong mga high-value individuals. This will be the focus of the anti-drug campaign. Of course, it will be reevaluated from time to time… we will try to enhance our anti-drug war so that we will be able to arrest more high value individuals,” he said.
As the new top cop, Cascolan said the citizenry must expect much-improved police visibility in their communities to help arrest the presence of illegal drug traffickers and other criminals.
The new PNP chief is no stranger to fighting illegal drug trafficking and abuse since he is known to be the ‘Architect’ of the PNP Oplan: Double Barrel which was used by the police force in addressing the drug problem since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016.
Gen. Cascolan replaced his mistah, now retired Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa to become the 24th PNP chief. He also became the 4th member of PMA Class 1986 to become a PNP chief after retired General-now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa, Oscar D. Albayalde and Gamboa.