DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 November) — Authorities arrested 17 party-goers, most of them young professionals, during a buy bust operation in a by-invitation only birthday bash in a beach resort in Mabini town, Davao de Oro where party drugs worth P1.5 million were seized on Saturday night.
The chief of the City Information Office of Davao City was among the party-goers but her name was not on the list of those arrested.
According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Davao, authorities arrested 33-year-old Revsan Ethelbert P. 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 containing suspected marijuana worth P6,000 to an agent who acted as a buyer.
Elizalde, who was celebrating his birthday, had sent out a “By Invitation Only. Strictly No Tag Along” notice to friends to attend “Rave Sun,” his birthday bash at the Sea Eagles Beach Resort in Pindasan, Mabini, Davao de Oro. The party was to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The raid occurred at 9:15 p.m.
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.
During the operation, authorities also arrested Elizalde’s companions, identified as Eana Faye Marie Olea, Bryk Jiordan Archival, Kurk Bryan Tiubot, Paolo Guerero and 12 others identified as Jomark Aping, Ariel Bueno, Edel Caballero, Ronald Chuan, Fritz Dinopol, Tom Jhun Doblas, Mark Christopher Isip, Janlord Masong, Christopher Prudente, Jesus Ragas III, Giovanni Tabanao and Jason Viduya while having a drug session.
MindaNews checked with PDEA spokesperson Noli Dimaandal if Jefry Tupas, chief of the City Information Office of Davao City, was among those arrested. He sent no reply.
Tupas was seen in photographs posted on social media by those who attended the party but her name was not on the list of 17 arrested.
MindaNews sought Tupas for clarification but she deactivated her Facebook account, could not be reached by phone and did not report to work on Monday.
UPDATE AS OF 12:36 A.M. Tupas sent a statement to the City Hall reporters’ chat group at midnight, admitting he was in the party but left after dinner. “I was there because like the other guests, I was invited. But I left right after dinner with my boyfriend and another friend.”
Recovered from the resort 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.
The suspects are now detained at a detention facility of NBI-Davao while the confiscated illegal drugs were submitted to PDEA-Davao Laboratory for examination.
Cases of violation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 are being prepared against those arrested. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews with a report from Carolyn O. Arguillas