PDEA arrests Badian village chief, seizes P1.5-M shabu

ANTI-NARCOTICS agents arrested a village chairperson after she was allegedly caught in possession of illegal drugs inside her gated residence in Barangay Malabago, Badian, Cebu, around 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 5.

Epifania Divinagracia Alvizo, 52, chairperson of Barangay Malabago, allegedly yielded 550 grams of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) with an estimated value of P1.5 million.

She allegedly sources her supply from her husband Marlito, who is detained at the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, for kidnapping a Cebuano businessman.

Alvizo, who is serving her first term, is the fifth public official in Cebu caught by PDEA this year. She denied that she sells shabu and insisted that she is just a barangay official who earns extra income from her store.

Alvizo cannot post bail to gain temporary liberty, as selling shabu is a non-bailable offense under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

Yogi Filemon Ruiz, Central Visayas director of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), said Alvizo is a high-value target who allegedly disposes of a kilo of shabu per week.

Agents had put Alvizo and her suspected cohort, Ronan Lastimoso Librando, under surveillance for three months. They were named by small-time pushers arrested earlier by PDEA and the police.

Librando, 46, was caught ahead of Alvizo in a drug bust in Sitio Cabil-isan, Barangay Banhigan, Badian. Seized from him were 200.06 grams of suspected shabu worth P601,000.

Ruiz described Alvizo’s alleged involvement in the narco-trade as the “ultimate form of treachery.”

He said Alvizo failed to fulfill the public official’s task to protect her constituents from illegal drugs.

“Ang inyong dautang binuhatan walay laing kapaingnan. Amo gyod mong gukdon (Your evil deeds will bring you nowhere. We will go after you),” he said.

Anti-narcotics agents seized four bankbooks, three automated teller machine (ATM) cards, and cell phones from Alvizo. These will be examined so the agents can trace her transactions. Several luxurious cars were also found in her residence.

Ruiz said some of the bankbooks showed deposits of P1 million to P2 million.

He urged the public to report to them any public official engaged in selling shabu.

Other government officials who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade were: Sangi, Toledo City Barangay Captain Eduardo Bacalso; Lagtang, Talisay City Barangay Captain Mark Ferdinand Bas; Tupas Barangay Captain Eugene Miñoza; and Lamintak Norte, Medellin Councilman Rex Baterna. (SunStar Cebu)

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