PUBLIC school teacher Ma. Jocelyn Arquillano had opted to file for an indefinite leave, saying she needed to rest and seek a cure for her aching back.
She also wanted to spend time with her husband Diosdado, 54, to make up for the time they lost when he spent nearly two years in jail on an illegal drug charge.
Diosdado said he was released on bail in June last year, after he was caught in 2013.
But yesterday Ma. Jocelyn’s indefinite leave appeared set to stretch further: jail time.
She and her husband were caught by operatives of the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) in an anti-illegal drug operation in Barangay Campo in San Francisco, Camotes past 12 a.m. yesterday.
Their children Richard Jean, 28; Dodie, 18; and DB Sychelle, 24, were also captured after the police saw them packing illegal drugs at home, near the village chief’s house and the barangay hall. Also arrested were their friend Juvane Pautan, 28, and Richard Jean’s 17-year-old girlfriend.
Diosdado claims he is a distant relative of San Francisco Mayor Aly Arquillano.
Supt. Rodolfo Albotra Jr., PIB chief, said they seized 177 grams of white crystals believed to be shabu worth more than P2 million, notebooks, receipts, and nearly P15,000 in different bills from the suspects.
Two KG-9 submachine guns, a .45 pistol and bullets were also confiscated by the police.
“It is sad to know that even teachers are involved in the drug business. They should be role models,” Albotra said.
The operation came 13 days after the PIB and Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group killed alleged big-time drug pusher Alex Otida in a shootout in Barangay Sta. Cruz, San Francisco.
Albotra said they will report the incident to the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 through the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Commission (CPADAC).
Provincial Schools Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud said that the division will investigate and endorse their findings to DepEd 7, which is authorized to punish errant teachers.
Engaging in the illegal drug trade is a ground for dismissal from service, she added.
Angtud said she was saddened by the arrest and pointed out that a teacher is supposed to be “a model of good deeds.”
The official said she will continue the random drug testing of teachers.
A teacher for 24 years in the Consuelo National High School, Ma. Jocelyn denied she is in the illegal drug trade.
“Akong barogan, wa ko’y sala nahimo (I’ll stand for it, I did not do anything wrong),” said Ma. Jocelyn, who teaches music, arts, physical education, and health.
For his part, Diosdado said his source of income is his poultry farm.
Their son Richard Jean claimed he is the only one selling drugs in the family and that his supplier is from Danao City. He said he left a drug rehabilitation facility in Argao last November after staying there for 10 months.
Ma. Jocelyn’s denial was contradicted by Albotra, who said his personnel conducted a buy-bust in the couple’s farm, before implementing the search warrant issued by Danao City Regional Trial Court Branch 25 Jerry Dicdican on their house.
“All members of the family are participants,” Albotra said.
The team led by SPO2 Reynaldo Solante said they conducted surveillance for two weeks and confirmed the Arquillanos’ involvement in illegal drugs.
They are allegedly level three drug pushers who can dispose of more than 200 grams per week.
“Harapharapan ang ilang pagpamaligya’g drugas (They sold drugs in public),” said Solante.
The police officer said that Richard is a former seaman.
Some residents reportedly sent complaints to the PIB against the suspects, after personnel of the San Francisco Police Station failed to arrest the Arquillanos.