CEBU (Updated) --Former Medellin, Cebu Mayor Ricardo “Ricky” Ramirez was caught by the police for allegedly keeping unlicensed firearms and drug paraphernalia past 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 26.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Jose Mario Espino said that Ramirez, 53, is engaged in narcotics in his hometown.
“He is allegedly using drugs and at the same time involved in the illegal sale of drugs. In due time, in the course of our investigation, we will further unmask his participation in illegal drugs,” he said.
Espino said Ramirez’s name surfaced last year in intelligence reports linking him to the illegal drug trade. Ramirez is now a town councilor.
Asked why no illegal drugs were found in Ramirez’s house, Espino said that big-time personalities often do not keep the contraband with them.
“Maingat na ho sila (They’re being careful),” he said.
Ramirez, who is the fourth town councilor caught in the past 21 days, denied the allegation that linked him to the drug business in northern Cebu.
Last July 6, Councilors Johnny Arriesgado, Edwin Villaver, and Alfonso Donaire IV of San Fernando town were arrested by the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB)-led operatives.
Supt. Joie Yape Jr., the PIB chief, said Ramirez has been listed as a level two “high-value target” of the Cebu Provincial Police Office.
His team, assisted by other PRO 7 operatives, implemented the search warrant issued by Talisay City Regional Trial Court Branch 66 Judge Jacinto Fajardo in Ramirez’s residence in Sitio Lucha, Barangay Caputatan Sur, Medellin past 6 a.m.
Seized from Ramirez were two M4/M16 rifles with telescope and eight steel magazines, a .30 rifle, a .22 rifle with telescope, two air rifles, a .45 pistol, 9mm pistol, magazines, bullets, empty shells, and a gun license.
Drug paraphernalia including a digital weighing scale, tinfoil, a lighter, and a tooter were found by the police in the master bedroom.
Ramirez denied he is a drug user, and he accused a lady friend of leaving the drug paraphernalia in his house.
He said he owned the firearms and ammunition, but he failed to process the permits. Ramirez added that these firearms are unserviceable and he lost interest in them.
He said that some of the licenses expired in 2015 and he did not mind renewing them until his term as mayor expired last year.
Espino said the firearms were possibly used in last year’s elections but Ramirez denied he hired goons.
Ramirez admitted he tasted shabu, marijuana and cough syrup in his younger days, but he had quit the vice. He said he is willing to undergo a drug test.
He blamed his rivals for allegedly starting the drug issue last year, particularly his alleged drug use, to hurt his political career.
The official further said he told Medellin Police Chief Arvi Arbuis that he is not a drug protector.
Ramirez complained that the police did not treat him well, saying they did not heed his request not to handcuff him even if he promised not to escape.
He further complained that he was transported on a police patrol car whose windows are not tinted. The operatives stopped for lunch in Bogo City, the turf of his political rivals—the Martinezes.
Espino said the arrest of Ramirez had no political pressure, adding their operation is based on solid intelligence reports.
Espino commended Yape and the other assisting units, including Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit and Provincial Public Safety Company, for Ramirez’s capture.
Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo, meanwhile, said that he had heard about Ramirez’s alleged drug involvement, but it has never been proven.
Mondigo said that Ramirez’s seat in the council will not be vacated unless he is convicted of the charges to be filed against him. (With reports from JKV)