Friday, September 20, 2019

Bunye: Busting the drug buster

“SIR, ano ang ginagawa ninyo rito, Sir?” (“Sir, what are you doing here?”)

Thus asked one of the PDEA operatives who busted a shabu laboratory cum warehouse in Sta. Cruz, Manila last week. During the raid, the narcs confiscated 46 kilos of shabu and arrested “Sir”, together with a Chinese national.

“Sir” was Ferdinand Marcelino, a marine Lt. Colonel, who, up to 2012, headed the PDEA Special Enforcement Service.

After his PDEA stint, Marcelino (known to police reporters as “Mars”) attended the Command and General Staff Course in Camp Aguinaldo. Afterwards, he assumed his new assignment as Superintendent of the Navy Officer Candidate School in Zambales.

His navy superiors were just as surprised by the arrest. Marcelino reportedly left his command before dawn that day without personally asking permission to leave. But he did text his immediate superiors later in the morning that he went to Manila to attend to very urgent personal matters.

Marcelino told the arresting team that he had the necessary papers to show that he was on a legitimate anti-drug surveillance operation. But aside from failure to produce any authorization, he also could not explain why he had a key to the shabu laboratory.

Marcelino is now facing possible charges of illegal manufacture of prohibited drugs, a non-bailable offense.

Marcelino first gained media attention when he figured in the high profile Alabang Boys case in 2008. Marcelino (then a Major) claimed that the Alabang Boys -- scions of prominent families -- had offered the arresting team bribes (initially P3 million which eventually went up to P20 million) to drop the charges.

Even the late Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, however, found the claim hard to believe.

The Alabang Boys were eventually acquitted.

Marcelino was also reportedly involved in the arrest of Manuel Lim, son of former Manila Mayor Lim. The younger Lim served time in jail.

Marcelino left PDEA in 2012.

Former PDEA Chief Dionisio Santiago, who used to be the boss of Marcelino, said that latter should have just left it to the enforcement units. As was the practice, separate units conduct surveillance and actual raids.

But Santiago was willing to give Marcelino the benefit of the doubt because of his supposedly unorthodox methods.

“Madalas ‘lumulubog’ yan. At pagbalik, mayroon ng warrant.” (He would just go undercover and then come back with a warrant.)

So what really happened? Abangan!

x x x

She is just doing her job to the letter but her sense of timing leaves much to be desired.

Fresh in the wake of the triumphant return of Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares reminded our new beauty queen about her tax obligations related to her winning beauty title.

The income tax, reportedly computed at seven figures, has to be settled on or before April 15, 2016.

Pia’s admirers reacted negatively. Could we not waive the tax liability if only to give due recognition to Pia’s exceptional achievement? After all, we give tax holidays and other tax breaks for businesses. And did we not also give a special exemption to a former international title holder?

As the law stands, certain earnings are exempt from tax. Unfortunately, winning an international beauty contest is not one of them.

An amendment of the law in order to be able to grant a special exemption seems out of the question at this time given the difficulty of even mustering a quorum in Congress.

So maybe, some generous sponsor/s could simply donate the money which Pia would use to pay her liability. But then again, the donation would also be subject to tax.

Wala talagang lusot kay Kim!

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