Tornado kills boy, injures 4 in Valencia City

MALAYBALAY CITY – (Bukidnon News Dispatch/05 Sept.)A one-year old boy died and four persons were hurt in a tornado incident in three villages in Valencia City Saturday afternoon, Capt. Alejandro Larosa, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council coordinator reported to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

James Alumin, from Purok 18, Batangan Valencia City; was swept by strong winds when the tornado passed through their house. He was separated from his mother, Mary Grace, 22, one of four persons injured in the incident.

The others hurt in the incident were identified as Gogelyn Versaga, 15; Sinisa Versaga; and Elton Galsin, 23. All those hurt, except Galsin, were confined at the Abella Midway Hospital in Valencia City. Continue reading


PDEA arrests 5 suspects in Malaybalay drug buy-bust

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News Dispatch/04 September) Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives arrested a suspected drug vendor and four others in a buy-bust operation before midnight of September 2 in an inn in Casisang, Malaybalay City, Roberto S. Opeña, PDEA 10 regional director, reported.

PDEA agents arrested a man identified to be Felipe N. Butal Jr. in Opeña’s report to Usec. Jose S. Gutierrez, PDEA director-general. His report was quoted in a press release sent to the media Sunday.

Agents found in Butal’s possession a piece of regular size transparent plastic sachet containing substance believed to be shabu. He sold it to a PDEA undercover agent, the PDEA said in the press release.

Butal, the PDEA reported, also carried a piece each of small, medium and large size heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets with white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu. Also arrested with Butal during the operation, the PDEA added, were suspects Emilio M. Gempisao, Nelson C. Ernabe Jr, and Eugene S. Flores. PDEA operatives found a small size heat-sealed plastic sachet containing suspected shabu in Gempisao’s wallet, Opeña said in his report.

The confiscated substances were scheduled to be examined at the Bukidnon crime laboratory. The PDEA report said the suspects were detained at the Malaybalay City Police Office Detention Cell.

The PDEA press release said they are filing charges against the suspects for violation against Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act. (Bukidnon News Dispatch)

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PDEA arrests 5 suspects in Malaybalay drug buy-bust

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News Dispatch/04 September) Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives arrested a suspected drug vendor and four others in a buy-bust operation before midnight of September 2 in an inn in Casisang, Malaybalay City, Roberto S. Opeña, PDEA 10 regional director, reported. Continue reading

PDEA nabs Bukidnon lawyer, dentist in illegal drugs raid

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)


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Bukidnon anti-crime body folds up too soon

MALAYBALAY CITY – Even before it could meet for the first time, the newly created Provincial Anti-Crime and Drug Abuse Force or Task Force Laban sa Krimen“ has now died a natural death.” Bukidnon Gov. Alex Calingasan told Bukidnon News Wednesday he will no longer push through with the project after his appointed task force chair and vice chair declined to accept their appointment.

Calingasan has ordered the creation of the Provincial Anti-crime and Drug Abuse Force or Task Force Laban sa Krimen, according to an executive order dated May 17.

Executive Order No. 44 named Vice Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. to head the task force whose task is to “investigate, evaluate, review, assess, and gather information to stop illegal activities or crimes
[in the province]”. The governor appointed provincial board member Rogelio Lago as vice chair of the task force.

In a letter on June 2, Zubiri declined the position following a tussle with Lago during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session on June 1. Zubiri said in his letter that an ordinance is necessary for him and the board members to accept the post to avoid liability for “ultra vires acts” (beyond their authority). Lago wanted the provincial board to defer discussion on the proposed ordinance as they need to act first on Calingasan’s executive order. Nemesio Beltran Jr., provincial board majority leader, told Bukidnon News
there was a verbal tussle that ensued when he told Lago it was not for the board to act on executive orders.

Eventually, Lago expressed he would decline the position. The provincial board suspended discussion on the ordinance. Zubiri declined the following day.

The anti-crime body was tasked to formulate an anti-crime and public safety plan.

Calingasan issued the order in the aftermath of the New People’s Army attack early in May of the police station in Malitbog town, where the police were reported to have offered no resistance. The incident led to the sacking of the provincial police director, the town’s police chief and 20 of his subordinates.

The task force shall report to the governor and is placed under the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC).

But the governor said he would return the supposed role of the task force to the PPOC.

Calingasan cited in the executive order that the PPOC meets only once in a quarter.

Also named to the task force were provincial chiefs of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Land Transportation Office, and representatives from the public transport, religious, business, labor, and academic sectors.

The provincial police office said in a report that as of May 2011, various forms of illegal gambling exist in the province. However, Supt. Canilo A. Fuentes, deputy director for operations of the provincial police office, told the provincial board there is no jueteng [in Bukidnon]. He also clarified that illegal suertres, which is based on the results of a lottery game sponsored by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, is being carried out via guerrilla-type operations.

But Fuentes admitted that the entire province is “practically affected with the illegal drug problem” with marijuana and methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) as the most abused drugs. He said on top of the list are the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia and eight other towns.

Bukidnon is considered a big producer of marijuana.

Fuentes added that seven crime syndicates are operating in the province.  (Walter I. Balane)

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