PDEA-7 agents accused of stealing valuables during a drug operation

By: Ador Vincent Mayol, Morexette Marie B. Erram December 01,2017 - 12:09 AM

 

At least 20 agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) are facing a string of complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly staging a drug bust in order to steal several valuables amounting to at least P7.7 million.

Spouses Jeanette and Leo Malingin asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and the Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (Moleo) to hold the respondents liable for robbery, extortion, incriminatory machinations, perjury, illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, malicious prosecution, grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming an officer, dishonesty, and betrayal of public trust.

The complainants — suppliers of rattan and abaca products in Mandaue City — asked the anti-graft office to issue a preventive suspension against the respondents pending the resolution of the cases.

Letter

“We never have the intention to fight back for we are powerless. We have no means to fight against them except the weapon of truth. But the more we keep silent, the more these abusive law enforcers will thrive on their wickedness,” the complainants said in a letter dated November 10, 2017 to the Ombudsman.

“We feel that is not just our right to stand up for the truth, but it is our solemn obligation to man and God to tell the truth with the fervent hope that what happen to us may not happen to other innocent, helpless, and law abiding citizens of this nation,” they added.

The couple said the respondents “callously betrayed their sworn solemn duty to serve and protect our people.”

“We humbly believe that we can seek true justice from this independent and trustworthy honorable officer of the Ombudsman, the last bulwark of justice against the hands of the powerful and abusive PDEA-7 agents,” they said.

PDEA-7 agent Earl Rallos, who was one of the agents sued by the Malingin couple and Jeanette’s sister Menen Cosido, denied the claims of the complainants and maintained that their office is not involved in any illegal activity.

“I haven’t received a copy of the complaint yet. I learned though that some of my colleagues conducted a buy-bust there, and had her husband detained. Why would the fiscal detain her husband if the other agents are just telling lies?” he told Cebu Daily News.

CDN is withholding the names of the other agents as they could not be reached for comment. There are 10 named agents and another 10 John Does in the complaint.

CDN tried to contact PDEA-7 spokesperson Leia Albiar, but she did not answer the calls.

Arrest

Leo, Jeanette and Cosido were arrested by the PDEA-7 agents inside their residence at Lower Hermag Village in Barangay Tabok, Mandaue City, at dawn of July 30, 2017.

They were accused of possession and selling of illegal drugs — an accusation denied by the three persons.

Jeanette, who said she was the target of the PDEA operation, told CDN in an interview that Cosido was released 10 hours later after PDEA-7 found out that she was not Jeanette.

On the other hand, complaints were filed by PDEA against Leo and Jeanette at the Mandaue City Prosecutor’s Office.

The handling prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the cases against the couple for lack of sufficient basis to indict them.

However, Mandaue City Acting Prosecutor Maritess Cullen disapproved the recommendation and ordered the filing of charges against Leo in court but sustained the dismissal of the case against Jeanette.

Leo is currently detained at the Mandaue City Jail.

No search warrant

In a statement, the couple said the PDEA-7 agents barged into their house without a court-issued search warrant at around 3:45 a.m. on July 30.
Jeanette said the agents pointed a gun at her and ordered her to open their safety vault. She said the agents carted away their jewelry amounting to P2 million, personal checks worth P5 million, and cash of more than P700,000.

She also said the raiding team also took their credit cards, ATM cards, bankbooks, cell phones, a licensed .45 caliber, luxury watches, and keys of their Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Hilux pickup.

“If they were doing a drug bust, they should have not gone straight to our vault. They were only going for it,” Jeanette said.

The PDEA-7, in its report, claimed that they conducted the drug bust at 5:20 a.m., but the complainants presented footage from three closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) from three separate sources which showed that the raiding team pulled out from their house at around 4:15 a.m. of July 10.

“They were already at our house at around 3:45 a.m.,” Jeanette said.

She said no inventory of the supposed seized items were conducted.

It was only later in the afternoon of July 30 or 20 days later when the PDEA-7 presented packs of shabu weighing 80 grams.

At the PDEA-7 office, Jeanette said that the arresting officers demanded at least P10 million from them in exchange for their freedom.
They refused.

She said the PDEA-7 eventually returned some of the items taken from their house except the cash and pieces of jewelry.

Jeanette explained that their family has never been involved in illegal drugs.

“We never have a history on drugs. Our family is totally clean. All their accusations are malicious, false and fabricated,” she said.

Not one of the couple is in the drugs watch list of the Mandaue City Police Office.

Jeanette said a jealous neighbor may have asked the PDEA-7 to conduct a drug bust against them.

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TAGS: accused, agenst, during, operation, Pdea, stealing, valuables

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