By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—The Philippine National Police (PNP) is questioning the motives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-6) after four suspected major drug players were not charged and released from detention.
“Pinagduduhan natin ngayon ang PDEA (We are now doubting PDEA)” said Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6) in Western Visayas.
The joint operation of PDEA-6 and PRO-6’s Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU) last Thursday was lauded after arresting four leaders of the Odicta Drug group, whose operation did not stop after alleged drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. and his wife Merriam Regalado Odicta were killed two years ago. The relatives of Merriam are said to be at the helm.
But Cyril Regalado, Leo Regalado, and husband and wife Arnulfo and Nilda Regalado were released late Friday when PDEA-6 failed to comply with the necessary documents to be submitted to the fiscal. The four walked free when the reglimentary period of detention expired.
Bulalacao disclosed that PDEA-6 Regional Director Emerson Margate told him that the failure to submit documents to the fiscal was due to a busted photocopy machine.
While the PNP will investigate the role of PRO-6’s RDEU, Bulalacao told Manila Bulletin he will submit a request to PDEA’s hierarchy to conduct its own investigation.
Bulalacao expressed hope that PDEA will be able to justify its actions and not lose the trust of the police and the public.
However, there is fear that the four key drug suspects may be able to escape and avoid prosecution after being released.