THE party drug Ecstasy has been in the limelight since the collapse of 19-year-old Ashley Abad during a pre-Sinulog concert last Jan. 19. Abad died the next day from an Ecstasy overdose.
Her death set a precedent as to how law enforcement agents are addressing the problem and preventing the spread of the party drug.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte intervened in her case after meeting her family. He ordered the arrest of Abad’s boyfriend and their companions on the night in question.
However, Duterte was reminded that no case had been filed against any of them, as authorities were still waiting for the results of her autopsy.
More than 10 persons had been arrested for their links to the distribution of Ecstasy in Cebu in the past year. Most of them, like their customers, were young.
Last Thursday, Feb. 7, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 arrested call center agent Elvin Joseph Laput with 15 Ecstasy tablets in his possession.
PDEA 7 Director Wardley Getalla admitted that the use of Ecstasy was spreading in Cebu.
He said his office was zeroing in on clubs and bars suspected of being places where the party drug was sold.
Last Dec. 15, 22-year-old Teri Marina Colmenares, a Binibining Cebu 2018 candidate, was caught with seven packs of high-grade marijuana.
Police were led to her by disc jockey Nicole Allan Casiño, who they earlier arrested for possession of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Casiño pointed to Colmenares as his source of party drugs.
On Jan. 19, 2018, a joint team of the Regional Intelligence Division and the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit of the Police Regional Office 7 caught Claude Bernard Deen Peña, 21, with 16 Ecstasy tablets with an estimated market value of P40,000.
Peña was the target of the drug bust but Ali “Ryan” Didaton, one of the persons the police also arrested, was allegedly the source of the tablets.
Also taken into custody in that operation were Diana Rose Revellas, 20; Justim Carl Santillan, 21; Jaybee Ocat, 20; Kevin Caballero, 25; and Ann Marille Villahermosa, 26.
On Jan. 12, 2018, businessmen Neil Benjamin Eugenio Yap, 33, and Richard Ngo Go, 40, were arrested on A.C. Cortes Ave. in Barangay Alang-Alang, Mandaue City.
Go yielded a pack containing 10 blue square tablets believed to be Blue Telegram Ecstasy and a pack of orange capsules believed to be Orange Amore Ecstasy along with other items.
Authorities seized from Yap 15 capsules believed to be Ecstasy; P1,500 cash; two white envelopes for packing and a cellular phone. (JOB)