ORTIGOZA: Drug buster busted

January 29, 2016 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment


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After they raided a drug den at a coastal village ran by Muslims in Dagupan City on 2010 by using two armored personnel carriers, Navy patrol boats operated by the Philippine version of the Navy SEAL (they call it NAVSOG or Naval Special Operations Group), and Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group, I told then Marine Major Ferdinand Marcelino, who was introduced to me by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 1 Director Robert Opena, a neighbor at the PMA in the 1970s, “You’re the saving grace of the anti drug drive of the government”.
After he arrested earlier the spoiled brats “Alabang Boys”.
Then I saw him going for several times in the U.S and even meeting my brother who was his military professor at Philippine Military Academy.
Last Thursday, Lt. Col. Marcelino was arrested by the PDEA in a drug storage facilities in Sta. Cruz, Manila with more or less 64 kilograms of suspected shabu placed worth P320M, assorted chemicals, and other laboratory equipment.
As I Google Thursday night different dailies and online news networks that reported on an apartment raid in Sta. Cruz, Manila, I found Manila Bulletin’s article by lined by Aaron B. Recuenco more detailed. Excerpts:
“When the raid was conducted, they found two people inside but they were not able to recognize him first because it was very dark inside,”  said  by Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia, AIDG spokesman of the police’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG). .
He said the PDEA operatives got a surprise of their life when they recognized one of the two people inside as Marcelino.
Aside from Marcelino, also nabbed as Yan Yi Shou who turned out to be personally reporting to Marcelino when he was still the head of the PDEA-SES as interpreter.
“Their names were not even on our list. Our target is the townhouse because of the report that it has been serving as a storage faciluty for shabu,” said by Chief Insp. Merdegia
It was then that they also found out that the townhouse is not only a storage facility but actually a clandestine shabu laboratory.
“The shabu were in a freezing stage and were contained in a four large plastic rectangular trays. I think the two have been trying to move the illegal drugs out when the raid was conducted,” said Merdegia.

Based on the prevailing street value of shabu, the seized illegal drugs amount to P300 million.
***
Son of a gun, the title of this brouhaha should be “A drug buster busted”. As I saw Marcelino beng arrested (he was reportedly dressed down by PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G.Cacdac Jr., his fellow alumnus at PMA) my minds went back to the Colombian and Latin America’s inspired flick of Al Pacino’s Scar Face, Sicarios, others.
Those movies are fiction, what we are seeing on the boob tube and what we are reading on the news on Marcelino are sheer reality.
***
I know why Pangasinan Congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste is unbeatable in the First Congressional District. From the hoi polloi to the high rollers who visited him, they could attest how his friendship, stewardship, and patronage work for them.
“(Gubernatorial bet Amado) Espino (III) would be beaten here. I got all the town mayors and the city mayor while the governor (Amado Jr.) got all the “has- been” politicians and former elective officials,” he told me when I visited him late of December last year at his Caribbean-like hotel that he said are bigger than the high end Puerto del Sol beach  hotel in the coastal town of Bolinao, Pangasinan.
I told the solon that I thought Nani (Braganza, former Congressman of the District and former mayor of Alaminos City) will challenge him when I saw Wilmer Panabang’s (retired police colonel and Braganza’s former city administrator) name at the Comelec’s list of congressional candidates before the December 10 substitution.
 
“In a radio interview I challenged Nani that he should not hide behind the back of Panabang, he should man-up and challenge me,” he answered.
I, broadcaster Harold Barcelona, and my son Nico ate our breakfast with the solon as countless people of various persuasions were asked by Boying’s mestizo looking aide (who looks like my maternal kin the Celestes in Iloilo and Mindanao) ushered them inside the new cozy bar of the congressman’s El Pescador Hotel.
All his callers went home smiling and satisfied by his patronage and generosity.
But Celeste was not at all generous at a drop of a hat when he cited to us about the vice mayor who played brinkmanship between him and the governor.
“I told the vice mayor that its better we break our ties as she has been going to Espino and get funds there while she has the gall to come here and become beneficiary of “pondo (fund)” from me. I don’t like that kind of arrangement”.
“Naglalagaring hapon,” I butted in.
I posed to him that I could not understand why during the 2013 election I saw Bani mayoralty bet Gwen Palafox-Yamamoto join the governor in the hustling but now I saw on news reports that Gwen joined him and Cojuangco in their sorties
“I thought Gwen is an Espino’s ally?” I posed.
“No, she was with me ever since. When we bolted from the governor she joined us,” he retorted to me.
He said Governor Espino and his arched enemy in the 2013 gubernatorial election Nani Braganza and the governor’s pet peeve and classmate at the Philippine Military Academy Bani mayoralty candidate Marcelo Navarro (a former mayor beaten by Yamamoto in 2013) have reconciled.
***
Many people could not understand why bitter political rivals could just immediately reconcile with each other in a span of three years or less despite the vitriol and defamation they hurled at each other.
But one could only look at the politics in the First District to understand that bitter reality.
“That’s politics of convenience and opportunism,” I told Harold Barcelona, broadcaster of DWPR, as he referred to the critical collaboration of Navarro with the governor.
“Hinde mo maintindihan ang pulitika. Years ago mortal kayong magkaaway. Now, magkasama na kayo,” I said as I remembered how Celeste and Espino were implicated by Braganza’s supporters to be behind the murder of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez in December 2012.
 
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com)

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