THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Davao Region (PDEA-Davao) belied allegations of a cover-up after several suspects claimed that former City Information Office chief Jefry Tupas was allowed to escape in the beach party raid in Mabini, Davao de Oro on November 6, 2021.

PDEA-Davao Director Aileen Lovitos said during the Armed Forcs of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Press Corps Southern Mindanao virtual presser on Wednesday, November 10, that Tupas was not among their “main target” when the drug buy-bust operation was conducted.

"Yung ating operation is a planned operation. It's a buy-bust operation... Nakita natin if it’s a planned operation, meron na tayong subjects of the operation. Meron na tayong minamanman na drug personalities,” Lovitos said.

(A buy-bust is a planned operation. This means that we already have drug personalities who we were monitoring.)

This is in response to a report from Newsline Philippines on Tuesday evening, November 9, wherein some arrested partygoers, who were detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) facility in Davao City, claimed that Tupas and her boyfriend were around during the raid and was one of the “main targets” who were reportedly allowed to escape.

One of the arrested guests narrated that they saw Tupas being arrested.

Another detainee heard the former information officer telling authorities, “Staff ko ni Inday Sara [Duterte] (I’m a staff of Inday Sara). Unsa ni? Unsa ni? (What’s this? What’s this?)”

Authorities took Tupas, her boyfriend, and other individuals on their list to a different area, separating them from the rest of the partygoers of the resort.

"Wala mi nag expect na ipatakas na diay sila (We did not expect that they would release them)," one of the detainees said.

They said other partygoers were allowed to leave the resort.

The suspects claimed there were at least 50 partygoers, including Tupas, when authorities conducted the buy-bust.

They said they were surprised and called it “unfair” that only 17 of them were apprehended during the operation.

“Ang dili namo madawat ngano kami lang dire nabilin nga daghan man unta mi,” they said.

(What we cannot accept is why there are only a few of us here when there were many who attended the party.)

The detainees added that there were also guests from Manila during the raid.

They also claimed they were physically assaulted by arresting authorities.

When asked by Newsline, Lovitos belied their claims, adding there were witnesses that can prove it.

“Daghan mag tao didto. Makit-an man siguro kung unsa ang nahitabo. Wala tay ginakulata. Dili nato trabaho mangulata. Di man kinahanglan mangulata,” Lovitos said, adding that some might have been wounded,” she said.

(There were a lot of people there. If there was any assault, they could have seen it. No physical assault happened. It is not our job to physically assault anyone because we don’t need to.)

Meanwhile, during the virtual presser on Wednesday, the PDEA official called the detainee’s claims of special treatment to Tupas and others as “speculations.”

"Those are speculations. Hindi ko rin maintindihan saang listahan, since this is a planned operation (I don’t know about the list they are talking about because this was a planned operation)," Lovitos said.

The PDEA-Davao seized several drug paraphernalia such as ecstasy, shabu, marijuana, LSD party drugs, and liquid ecstasy during the raid.

Authorities recovered 26 packs with dried marijuana leaves, weighing about 200 grams and worth P24,000.

Also recovered were three sachets of substance believed to be shabu, weighing 10 grams and with a market value of P150,000.

Several drug items were also confiscated, including 722 party drug tablets/capsules worth P1,227,400, nine plastic bottles containing liquid party drugs worth P15,000, two vials of suspected liquid party drugs worth P17,000, 77 tablets of suspected LSD worth P130,000, and seven bottles of energy drink.

Prior to the conduct of the buy-bust operation, Lovitos said it took them months before they were able to apprehend the target personalities.

The Office of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced Tupas’ resignation on Tuesday morning but was also terminated from her post.

“Last Sunday, Jefry signified her resignation and at the same moment she was informed that she is terminated from work with the City Government of Davao,” the city mayor’s office said in a statement on November 9.

The City did not further provide information as “the details of the raid are known only to the PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] officers in Davao de Oro and Ms. Tupas.”

Prior to her resignation, Tupas, in a message forwarded to the media late Monday evening, November 8, confirmed her presence before the raid, which resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals for possession of illegal drugs.

“I was there because like the other guests, I was invited. But I left right after dinner with my boyfriend and another friend,” the information officer said.

Tupas did not provide additional information and deactivated her Facebook account following the incident.

When asked for reaction to the City Government’s statement that Tupas was “involved in the drug raid,” Lovitos declined to comment, but she said she will “take it as it is.”

She also said Tupas “is still part of the investigation.”

The official also said the case was already filed with the prosecution’s office.

The PDEA head said there was an ongoing investigation on the conduct of the raid. This after some people cast doubt on the regularity of the raid.

Meanwhile, she also said that the resort where the “drug party” was conducted might also face charges in violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“Makakasuhan [‘yung] involved at mga nagpapagamit ng resort to peddle drugs. There is a possibility that a case will be filed to those owners who are knowingly allowing the use of resort,” Lovitos said.