Tupas was among ‘main targets’ in drug raid, detained party guests say

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 November) – Claims made by the recently fired City Information Office chief that she left the beach party in Mabini, Davao de Oro right after dinner last Saturday have been debunked by fellow party-goers who claimed Tupas was around during the raid and was one of the “main targets” who was reportedly allowed to escape.

The Davao City-based Newsline Philippines reported on Tuesday evening that some of the detained party guests narrated that former City Information Office chief Jefry Tupas and her boyfriend, Jed Wong, were among the personalities called by authorities during the raid conducted by personnel of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Davao, National Bureau of Investigation, and police in the province.

“Ingon sa PDEA relax lang mo, sir, ‘kay visitor lang mo, ang gipanawag mao ang main targets’ (A personnel of PDEA told us to ‘relax, sir, because you are visitor, those who are being called are the main targets),” one of the guests detained at the NBI facility here said in the interview. Another detainee claimed he heard Tupas telling the authorities: “Staff ko ni Inday Sara (I’m a staff of [Mayor] Inday Sara [Duterte]). Unsa ni? Unsa ni? (What’s this? What’s this?).”

“Daghan nakakita nga gi-aresto sya (A lot of people saw she was arrested),” the detainees claimed.

They said Tupas and Wong and those who were named were taken to a different area in the resort, separated from the rest of the partygoers, and were “allowed to escape.”

The group of detainees said there were about 50 guests in the party but only 17 were detained. “Ang dili namo madawat ngano kami lang dire nabilin nga daghan man unta mi (What we cannot accept is why there are only a few us here when there were many who attended the party),” they said.

Tupas could not be reached Monday. She deactivated her Facebook page, did not report to work and could not be reached by phone. She admitted in a statement released at 12:07 a.m. on Tuesday that she was present during the party but claimed she immediately 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,” she said.

In a statement released Tuesday noon, Mayor Sara Duterte announced she fired Tupas on Sunday when the latter signified her intention to resign.“The details of the raid are known only to the PDEA 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. It is not clear why the mayor said the details of the raid “are known only to the PDEA officers in Davao de Oro and Ms Tupas.”

A press release issued by PDEA-Davao last Sunday did not name Tupas as among the drug personalities arrested.

PDEA-Davao director Aileen Lovitos, in the Newsline interview, maintained there were only 17 arrested, 14 of whom tested positive for use of illegal drugs – including shabu, marijuana, and Ecstasy – and are now facing complaints for violation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“We stick to our statement that we filed drug cases against the 17 drug personalities… Kana among statement, we will stand by it,” she said.

A press release from the PDEA on Sunday said 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 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)