THE incumbent village official of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, who was arrested by anti-narcotics agents in a sting operation Tuesday afternoon, February 14, tested positive for illegal drug use.
The official was identified as Socrates Emmanuel Cuerquis Jr., a village councilor of Solana, Jasaan.
Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Northern Mindanao seized 21 grams of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" worth around P100,000 from Cuerquis.
Also confiscated were drug paraphernalia used to repack "shabu" and a .45 caliber pistol.
PDEA-Northern Mindanao agent Ben Kalibre said the suspect is supposedly known in the area for selling illegal drugs and is included in the target list of the police.
"Taod-taod na namo siya gi-monitor kay naay mga information sa katawhan nga nag-engage gyud siya sa pagpamaligya gani nag-positive man ang atong buy bust," (We have placed him under surveillance for awhile now since we received information from the people that he is engaged in selling drugs. In fact, our drug bust gave a positive result,) Kalibre said.
The police said Cuerquis has disclosed the names of his drug sources but said the names will be subjected to verification.
But Kalibre said they will also look into the possibility that the names Cuerquis tagged as his drug sources may be his competitors in the illegal drugs trade.
"Walay official nga iyang gibutyag and ato pud i-validate iyang gi-mention nga names kay kasagara ang ginabutyag sa mga suspect ang ilang gituohan nga maoy naglaglag sa ila dili gyud ang ilang source," (He did not disclose any official. We will also validate the names kay most of the time, [drug] suspects reveal names whom they believe were the ones who betrayed them) Kalibre said.
PDEA will undertake more operations to arrest other street-level drug pushers in Solana to clear their village of illegal drugs, he added.
Cuerquis will be charged with violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act or Republic Act 9165 for selling, drug use, and possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.
The suspect will also face charges for possession of illegal firearms.
"Unless maka-produce siya og papers like licensed to carry firearms kay during sa pagkasikop wala man siyay napakita nga mga papel," (...because during the raid he was not able to produce documents) Kalibre said.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 16, 2017.