Drug bureau dismayed over release of drug suspect

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-10) in Northern Mindanao was dismayed when one of the drug suspects, who was caught in a July 10 buy-bust operation, was freed on order of the city prosecutor’s office Wednesday.

The anti-narcotics body also learned that the 61-year-old woman from Marawi City, who reportedly attempted to pay off a ranking PDEA-10 official in exchange for the liberty of suspect Ricondaya Alib, was actually her (Alib) sibling.

It can be recalled that Bansa Haron Socor allegedly tried to bribe PDEA-10 deputy regional director Rayford Yap on Monday with P50,000 in cash.

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In an interview with her at the agency’s detention cell on the same day she was arrested, Socor insisted that Alib is her friend.

“Gusto ko lang makalabas ang kaibigan ko (I just wanted my friend to be free),” Socor said in a previous interview.

However, Yap insisted the two, Socor and Alib, are actually siblings.

“When I asked Socor what is her relation to Alib, she said ‘kaibigan,’” Yap said.

But when Yap repeated the question, Socor told him that ‘kaibigan din ang kapatid’ (a sibling is also a friend).”

Although Alib was charged, along with other suspects for conspiracy and illegal possession of drugs, he was released from detention at the city jail in Barangay Lumbia, per order of the city prosecutor’s office, even if a preliminary investigation is still ongoing.

But City Prosecutor Fidel Macauyag said the case against Alib was “weak” since he was not at the crime scene when the buy-bust operation was carried out by PDEA-10 agents.

“Alib was not inside the car where the transaction happened last July 10.
Releasing Alib is possible even while the investigation is still ongoing since there is an unclear participation of the respondent and doubtful ang inquest fiscal. So there was a recommendation immediately since the respondent (Alib) was not inside the car and not PDEA’s contact,”
Macauyag told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the three other suspects are still in detention and had already been charged in court, PDEA-10 said.

Low morale

Macauyag said Alib is required to submit his supporting documents to the city prosecutor’s office, while both respondent (Alib) and PDEA are both ordered to file their respective counter-affidavits within 10 days.

Yap sees this as a difficult challenge to PDEA since possession of drugs is non-bailable yet Alib was released from prison.

“The investigation is not yet finished but Macapuli was released from prison already. Maka-low morale kaayo ni sa amo kay dako ni nga operation in the past few months,” Yap said.

Yap said PDEA-10 will file a motion for reconsideration hoping for a reversal the city prosecutor’s decision to release Alib.

“Medyo nawalaan jud mi ug kusog karon kay wala pa jud mi nahuman pero gi-release na dayon sila (We are dismayed as the case is still ongoing and yet he was released),” he added.

Socor was also able to post bail by paying a fee of P2,000 Wednesday morning.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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