Philippines

Maguindanao village chief, wife arrested for drugs

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Maguindanao village chief, wife arrested for drugs
By Noel Punzalan and Edwin Fernandez

KIDAPAWAN CITY (Philippines News Agency) – Authorities arrested on Monday a newly-elected village chair of Maguindanao, his wife, and two aides, during an anti-drugs operation in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 12 (PDEA-12) and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-ARMM), backed by police and Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion personnel, served the search warrant against Nestor Salama, 47, village chair of Barangay Balatongkayo, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao, and a resident of Mercado Street, Barangay Poblacion, Kabacan.

Also arrested were his wife Norhata, 42, Kabunto Batunan, 39 and Johari Zombaga, 20, all PDEA “ high-value targets.” Juvenal Azurin and Naravy Duquiatan, PDEA-ARMM, and PDEA 12 regional directors, respectively, led the 4 a.m. law enforcement operation against the village official.

Kabacan is under the jurisdiction of PDEA-12, while Datu Montawal town is under PDEA-ARMM.

Confiscated during the law enforcement operation were 11 sachets of suspected shabu weighing some 43 grams and with an estimated street value of PHP290,000, shabu paraphernalia, a .40-caliber pistol, ammunition, banking cards, assorted receipts, and cash believed to be proceeds of an illegal drug transaction.

“Salama has been in the PDEA-ARMM drug watch list,” Azurin said, adding that the suspect peddles illegal drugs in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) and Republic Act 10591 (Illegal Possession of Firearm and Explosive) will be filed against the suspects now detained at PDEA – ARMM headquarters in Cotabato City. (PNA)

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