MALAYBALAY CITY – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 10 nabbed a lawyer, a dentist, and four others who are believed to be involved in illegal drugs syndicate in the province.
PDEA arrested lawyer Winston Intong in a raid Wednesday mid-afternoon at his law office in Purok 11, Valencia City, along with three other suspects.
In a report PDEA 10 furnished to Bukidnon News Thursday afternoon, the anti-drug agent identified the suspect as the 43-year old lawyer, who is a resident of Malaybalay City but runs a law office in Valencia City. Intong has been a lawyer since 1995.
The PDEA report said Intong was apprehended after selling a sachet containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) to an undercover agent who acted as poseur-buyer.
Also arrested with Intong were registered dentist Ila D. Garcia, 44, also from Valencia City; student Michael Sausi, 26, of Purok 19, Poblacion, Valencia City; and a Dante Rey Evangelista, 42, a businessman-farmer from Poblacion, Pangantucan, Bukidnon.
The suspects were “caught-in-the-act” sniffing inside the Intong’s law office, according to the PDEA 10 report emailed to Bukidnon News.
Evangelista, the report said, confessed in front of the witnesses and PDEA operatives to be possessing shabu, which he hid in his vehicle. He later turned the substance to PDEA officers. PDEA agents recovered from Intong’s “possession and control” two medium-size transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu; a medium-size sachet containing suspected cocaine; five pieces yellow tablets and three pieces green tablets suspected to be “ecstacy” and other drug paraphernalia.
The agents also recovered suspected shabu and various drug paraphernalia with suspected shabu residues from the other suspects. Valencia City Police blotter report cited two others who were with the suspects during the arrest. But the PDEA report did not included the two women in their report.
The suspects were brought to the PDEA regional office in Cagayan de Oro City for inquest investigation. PDEA ARMM regional director Col. Edwin Layese, who was until this month the PDEA 10 director, told Bukidnon News via SMS Intong has been arrested as an alleged user and pusher. He told Bombo Cagayan de Oro that Intong has been allegedly posing as counsel for drug pushing suspects. He added that he allegedly asked for drugs from the suspects to fix their cases.
The PDEA agents also did another buy-bust operation in Malaybalay City on June 22 evening, where two other suspects identified as Virgilio Dapac Jr, 32, and Ruel B. Abella, 33, were arrested. The PDEA report said Dapac sold a piece of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet with white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu to a PDEA agent who acted as a poseur-buyer.
According to the report, which was authorized by the new PDEA regional director Roberto Opeña, the suspects were detained at the PDEA Bukidnon sub-office while drug and other evidences were brought to the PNP Crime Lab for qualitative and quantitative examination to prepare for filing of charges in court.
Lawyer Isidro Caracol, who recently assumed as president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Bukidnon Chapter, said they received unconfirmed reports of allegations against Intong. “But he has all the right to defend himself (against all these allegations),” Caracol told Bukidnon News via telephone.
Caracol told the IBP – Bukidnon chapter in a program Thursday morning that he will push for discipline among the members. But he clarified later that they will only act on those matters after the suspect is convicted of any crime.
The IBP chapter, he said, still has no official stand on his arrest. As of now, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” he added.
Bukidnon News tried to get Intong’s side from a lawyer who assisted him in the custodial investigation at Kalasag station of the Valencia City police Wednesday. But he said he has not been hired as counsel and refused to give reactions from Intong.
Lawyer Oliver Owen Garcia, a cousin of suspect Ila Garcia said her presence in the law office was coincidental. She was there allegedly to collect a loan payment. (Walter I. Balane)
You can also find this story in: www.mindanews.com