THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has filed criminal charges against a town election officer in Misamis Oriental and his associate who were arrested by the anti-narcotics agents in a separate operation in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday, August 8.
Arrested were Jose Mari Fernandez, 40, of Bloomingdale Subdivision, Iponan, and the present officer-in-charge of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of Gitagum town; and his friend Clint Pagapulaan, resident of Patag, this city.
Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Northern Mindanao seized five sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known known as “shabu,” worth around P68,000, from Fernandez' possession.
PDEA-Northern Mindanao agent Ben Calibre said Fernandez was the former municipal poll officer of Balingoan town before he was transferred to Gitagum.
He said Fernandez was previously known to be a drug dependent but had later engaged in the illegal drug trade when his network had supposedly expanded.
"Ilado ni siya nga user pero nidako iyang network nga daghan na siya kaila unya naa pud gatunol sa iya og dinagko maong na-classify siya nga user ug pusher (He is a known user, but his network expanded when he got acquainted with many, and someone also provides him large supplies, so he is now classified as user and pusher)," Calibre said.
The anti-narcotics agency considered Fernandez a high value target and they have long been monitoring his illicit drug activities.
Calibre also said Fernandez was arrested recently by other law enforcement units for alleged illegal possession of guns but he was able to post bail.
He said the suspect has revealed some personalities in the government who were also linked to illegal drug activities.
"Naa iyang gisutli nga taga gobyerno ra gihapon nga gagamit ug gabaligyaan niya (He confessed that his source is a government employee who is also a user)," Calibre said, adding that the information is subject for validation.
Calibre said Pagapulaan is running a small business and was one of the associates of Fernandez.
Pagapulaan was arrested past 12 noon, Wednesday, barely an hour after Fernandez was nabbed. He yielded a sachet of suspected crystal meth.
"Kauban ra ni sila usahay mag-uban pa ni sila og session (They are associates, sometimes they go together for pot sessions)," Calibre said.
Suspects are now detained and will face drug charges.