Mayor Duterte fires City Info chief “involved in a drug raid”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 November) – The chief of the Davao City Information Office who was “involved in a drug raid” on Saturday night and who “signified his resignation” on Sunday, has been fired by Mayor Sara Duterte.

In a statement released at noon via the city government’s Facebook page, the mayor referred to Jefry Tupas as “the former City Information Officer” who was “involved in a drug raid” on Saturday in Mabini, Davao de Oro where 1.5 million pesos worth of party drugs were seized in a buy-bust operation.

“The details of the raid are known only to the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency)  officers in Davao de Oro and Ms. Tupas. Last Sunday, Jefry signified his resignation and on the same moment he was informed that he is terminated from work with the City Government of Davao,” the mayor said.

Seventeen persons were arrested in a drug raid in a beach resort in Pindasan, Mabini, Davao de Oro during a “By Invitation Only. No Tag Along” birthday party of 33-year-old Revsan Ethelbert P. Elizalde which was raided by a joint team from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Tupas was among the party-goers but was not on the list of arrested.  She deactivated her Facebook page,  did not report to work and could not be reached by phone on Monday.

At 12:07 a.m. on Tuesday, she issued this statement to the City Hall reporters’ chat group, through a staff member:  “I was there because like the other guests, I was invited. But I left right after dinner with my boyfriend and another friend.”

The mayor appointed her friend, Tupas, as head of the CIO when she returned as mayor in 2016.

A press release from PDEA-Davao issued last Sunday did not include the name of Tupas as among the individuals arrested, but she was seen on the photographs posted on social media by those who attended the party.

Authorities arrested the 33-year-old Elizalde, single, and a resident of Catalunan Pequeño, Davao City after selling one plastic sachet containing violet capsule believed to be a party drug worth P2,000 and one large vacuum sealed plastic with suspected marijuana worth P6,000 to an agent who acted as a buyer.

Elizalde was the subject of the buy-bust operation conducted by the joint personnel of PDEA-Davao, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Davao, and Mabini Municipal Police Station.

Recovered from scene were 26 pieces of heat sealed transparent plastic sachets with marijuana leaves weighing around 200 grams worth P24,000; three pieces transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu weighing 10 grams worth P150,000; 722 tablets/capsules of suspected party drugs worth P1,227,400; nine plastic bottles with suspected liquid party drugs worth P15,000; two vials containing suspected liquid party drugs worth P17,000; 77 pieces suspected lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) worth P130,000; and seven bottles of energy drinks were also seized during the operation. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)