A VILLAGE official fell into the arms of anti-narcotics agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Cordillera and local police along Villamor Street, Lualhati, Baguio City, Friday morning, September 1.
The village official identified as Raphael Sotelo Rancapan alias "Paeng," 39, is a resident of BGH Compound.
Rancapan was arrested after selling a plastic sachet containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" worth P1,000 to a PDEA agent acting as a buyer.
The suspect initially had a different area to conduct the transaction but later decided to divert after suspecting that he was being monitored by drug enforcement agents.
Rancapan is now detained at the PDEA-CAR jail facility, pending the filing of a case for violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act Number 9165 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Rancapan’s arrest came days after the Regional Oversight Committee came up with the declaration that only six barangays in Baguio are drug-affected.
Association of Barangay Council president and Councilor Micheal Lawana said during the initial implementation of Oplan Tokhang (knock and plead), Rancapan’s name did not appear in the list of possible drug users of their barangay.
“Despite him (Rancapan), known to us as not involved in any illegal dealings and was very active in barangay affairs, his arrest came as a surprise. But his arrest is due to his fault, he was caught in the act because of the legitimate by-bust operation by the PDEA,” the councilor stated.
The local legislator said they will not interfere with the case and will pursue a continuing information campaign for barangay officials during their monthly Friday meetings to assert the negative effects of substance abuse, and the negative connotation it brings to barangay officials.
Lawana added that local officials should veer away from the use of drugs and instead help in ridding their barangays of drug users.
Meanwhile, the regional drug enforcement agency’s information officer, Lawyer Joseph Frederick Calulut, said Rancapan’s apprehension was based on information handed to the agency.
Calulut explained Rancapan was not part of the list of suspected drug users in the initial list prior to the implementation of Oplan Tokhang but have had previous dealings of drugs in the past.
He added Rancapan’s arrest manifests the presence of barangay officials within the city involved in the illegal drug trade. (Jonathan Llanes)