BUKIDNON Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. belied Monday, September 26, the claims of a Provincial Government employee nabbed by anti-narcotics operatives over the weekend saying the capitol employee has never been a member of his security team.
“Marlou Madrial is not a bodyguard assigned to provide security to me. I have terminated his service as Administrative Aide 4 effective [Monday], for loss of trust and confidence, being a co-terminous employee. He has never been a part of my close-in security group,” Zubiri said.
Madrial was arrested by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Northern Mindanao at his residence in Purok 1, Barangay Gutapol, Kibawe on Saturday morning.
Madrial was arrested after agents serving a search warrant found suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as "shabu," weighing about 25 to 30 grams with estimated street value of P112,000.
Zubiri said he wants to be transparent on this issue and reiterated he has never condoned illegal drug use, abuse, and trade in the province.
“My instruction is to arrest all drug offenders, regardless whether the person involved is a part of our family or staff,” he said.
Provincial information officer Hansel Echavez, in an interview Monday, said Madrial was not one of the four Provincial Government employees who were tested for illegal drugs during the massive testing conducted in Malaybalay City on orders of Zubiri last week.
Echavez said Madrial was detailed at the local government unit in Kibawe town since he is from there.
“He was not there during the drug testing since he was on field assignment,” he said.
The arrest of Madrial, said Zubiri, just proves that everyone must be vigilant and be on the lookout for drug personalities.
“We have to take all measures so that the tentacles of the illegal drug trade will be cut. We can never be too sure with regards to the reach and depth of the drug problem in our midst,” he added.
The arrest, he said, also underlies the urgency of the drug-testing of all officials and employees of government agencies, in all levels down to the barangay even in government-owned and controlled corporations.
“We all recognize the gravity of the drug problem, but still, we are surprised when it reaches our own offices and neighborhoods,” Zubiri said.
“I count the arrest as a good sign that the PDEA has responded to calls for timely use of intelligence reports, the proper implementation of arrests and correct handling of evidence,” he added.
The governor has assured the public that he will extend full assistance to the PDEA, the Philippine National Police and the courts in order to stamp out illegal drugs.
“With everybody’s support, we hope that President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs will succeed throughout the country,” Zubiri said.
As of Monday, PDEA-Northern Mindanao has not yet released the details of Madrial’s arrest.