Ochoa ‘unaware’ of documents linking Marcos to illegal drugs

MANILA. Former executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. appears before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which is conducting a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from PDEA.
MANILA. Former executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. appears before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which is conducting a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from PDEA.Screenshot from Senate video

FORMER executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on Monday, May 20, 2024, denied preventing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from conducting an anti-illegal drug operation targeting a group of individuals, including then-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and veteran actress Maricel Soriano, in 2012.

During the resumption of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs inquiry into the alleged leak of confidential information from PDEA, Ochoa said he does not know former PDEA deputy director general Carlos Gadapan and ex-PDEA agent Jonathan Morales.

Morales, who earlier claimed that the leaked documents linking Marcos and Soriano, among others, to illegal drug use were legitimate, said Ochoa ordered Gadapan to not let the operation in 2012 push through.

Ochoa said he was not even aware of such documents and that he is puzzled as to why Morales is implicating him on the matter.

"As I earlier mentioned, I don’t even know him (Gadapan). And I don’t recall any occasion that we have met or even talked. So I completely deny that I have made those instructions as alleged," he said.

Committee chairperson Senator Ronald dela Rosa said there were “insinuations” that Ochoa prevented the drug operation against Marcos due to the influence of his wife, Liza Araneta-Marcos, who was his former partner in a law firm.

Ochoa vehemently denied such “insinuations” but he admitted that Liza was one of his partners at the MOST (Marcos, Ochoa, Serapio and Tan) Law Firm.

He said they established the firm in 2006 but he withdrew from it in 2010 following his appointment as the executive secretary.

Meanwhile, the panel has cited in contempt Morales and ordered his detention over his alleged continued lying on matters pertaining to his derogatory records when he was still in the police service, which he did not declare when he applied to PDEA.

Morales earlier said that he failed to declare that he was dismissed from police service because he was not aware of the status of his cases at that time.

Marcos earlier laughed off the ongoing investigation. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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