BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan – Six elected barangay officials, one former municipal councilor and a cohort, who are classified as high-value targeted personalities, were arrested by joint operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army during the implementation of 10 search warrants in Pangasinan.
PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña identified the arrested suspects as barangay captains Eduardo Alcantara, of Barangay Beleng; Roderick Casingal, of Barangay Iton; Remato Soriano, of Barangay Tamaro; George Balbin, of Barangay Nalsian Sur; and Gildo Madriano, of Barangay San Gabriel; Barangay Kagawad Mark Monderin of Barangay Malimpec; Gerardo de Vera, a former municipal councilor of Barangay Zone 1; and Jose Sandy Gavino, a resident of Barangay Tamaro, all from the town of Bayambang, Pangasinan.
It can be recalled that combined elements of PDEA Regional Office 1 (PDEA RO1) under Director Jeoffrey Tacio, Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPO) and the Philippine Army (PA) arrested the eight suspects during the separate implementation of 10 lawful searches in their residences in Bayambang, Pangasinan.
Confiscated during the operations were a total of 20 plastic sachets containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, weighing more or less 40 grams, with an estimated street value of P120,000, two rifle airsoft guns, 1 Glock cal. 40 pistol and one cal. 9 mm pistol with pieces of ammunition and several drug paraphernalia.
Cases for violation of Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 12 (Possession of Drug Paraphernalia), Article II of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, are being prepared for filing in court against the suspects. They will also be charged for violation of RA10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act).
“Six of the arrested drug personalities are the newest addition to the growing list of barangay officials to have been involved in the country’s illegal drug trade. These supposed highest elected officials in their communities are the ones enmeshed in illegal drug activities, instead of taking care of the welfare of their constituents,” Lapeña said.
Based on the data consolidated by PDEA, 65 barangay officials, composed of six barangay chairmen and 59 barangay kagawads, were arrested for drug-related offenses in 2015- an 18.18 percent higher than CY 2014 where 55 village officials (10 barangay chairmen and 45 barangay kagawads) were arrested for violating the anti-drug law.
The figures stated is the highest since 2013 wherein 11 barangay captains and 29 barangay councilmen or 40 barangay officials were taken into custody. The numbers have increased significantly each succeeding year.
From January to October 2, 2016, 11 barangay chairmen and 40 barangay kagawads, or 51 barangay officials were already arrested for violation of RA 9165.
By Dexter A. See