By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 6 (PDEA-6) is in hot water for releasing four major drug suspects after its agents failed to file the necessary chargers.
“Pinagduduhan natin ngayon ang PDEA (We are now doubting PDEA),” said Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6).
The joint operation of PDEA-6 and PRO-6’s Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU) last Thursday was lauded after it resulted in the arrest of the four alleged leaders of the Odicta Drug group, whose operation did not stop after drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. and his wife Merriam Regalado Odicta were killed two years ago. Merriam’s siblings are said to be behind what was once the biggest drug group in Western Visayas.
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 prosecutor. PDEA-6 released them after the period for detention expired.
Bulalacao disclosed that PDEA-6 Regional Director Emerson Margate merely explained to him that the failure to submit documents to the city prosecutor was due to a broken photocopy machine.
While Bulalacao ordered an investigation on the role of PRO-6’s RDEU, he told Manila Bulletin he will request PDEA’s hierarchy to conduct a separate investigation.
Meanwhile, Bulalacao expressed fear the four key drug suspects may be able to escape and avoid prosecution after being released.