MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/24 June) – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Region 10 arrested a lawyer, a dentist, and two other suspects in a drug buy-bust operation Wednesday in neighboring Valencia City.
PDEA agents arrested lawyer Winston Intong mid-afternoon Wednesday in his office in Purok 11, Valencia City.
Intong, a lawyer since 1995, resides in Malaybalay City but runs a law office in Valencia.
In a report emailed to MindaNews today, the PDEA said they caught Intong selling a sachet of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) to an undercover agent who posed as a buyer.
Arrested with Intong were dentist Ila D. Garcia and student Michael Sausi, both from Valencia, and Dante Rey Evangelista of Pangantucan, Bukidnon.
The report alleged that the suspects were caught in the act of sniffing shabu inside the law office.
It further alleged that Evangelista confessed in front of witnesses and the PDEA operatives that he was hiding shabu in his vehicle which he surrendered.
Aside from the suspected shabu, the agents also recovered from the lawyer a medium-sized sachet containing suspected cocaine, five pieces of yellow tablets, three pieces of green tablets believed to be “Ecstasy” drugs, and other paraphernalia, the report added.
The agents also allegedly recovered suspected shabu and shabu residues contained in various drug paraphernalia from the other suspects.
The blotter report at the Valencia City police office said two other women were with the suspects during the raid, but the PDEA report did not include their names.
The suspects were brought to the PDEA regional office in Cagayan de Oro City for inquest investigation.
Edwin Layese, former PDEA-10 director who has been moved to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said via SMS that Intong was arrested as a suspected user and pusher. He told Bombo Radyo-Cagayan de Oro that the lawyer had allegedly served as counsel for drug suspects in exchange for drugs.
PDEA agents conducted another buy-bust operation in Malaybalay on Wednesday evening and arrested two suspects identified as Virgilio Dapac Jr. and Ruel Abella.
Dapac allegedly sold a sachet of suspected shabu to a PDEA agent who posed as a buyer.
According to the report released by new PDEA-10 regional director Roberto Opeña, the suspects were detained at the PDEA Bukidnon sub-office while the drug and other evidences were brought to the Philippine National Police crime laboratory for examination.
Isidro Caracol, who recently assumed as president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Bukidnon chapter said they had received unconfirmed reports against Intong.
“But he has all the right to defend himself [against all these allegations],” Caracol told MindaNews via telephone.
He told the IBP-Bukidnon in a program this morning that he will push for discipline among their members, but clarified that they can only act after a conviction.
He added the organization still has no official stand on Intong’s arrest.
MindaNews tried to get Intong’s side from a lawyer who assisted him in the custodial investigation at the Valencia police office Wednesday. But he refused to give statements on the incident saying he had not been hired as counsel.
Lawyer Oliver Owen Garcia, a cousin of Ila Garcia said her presence in the law office was coincidental as she was there allegedly to collect a loan payment. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)