Drug pushing soldiers

Task Force Davao, 3rd IB members among 5 arrested suspects
TWO SOLDIERS, including a militiaman assigned with the elite Task Force Davao (TFD), and three other civilians who are posing as soldiers were collared following a buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on early Saturday morning.

Nephi Noli Dimaandal, PDEA XI spokesperson, identified the suspects as Cpl. Cristituto Gabino Macagubang Jr. alias Mac-Mac, ReyJay Mission, Alvin Aleria Binondo, John Louie Segovia and Regie Impas.

Macagubang, the actual target, is a member of the 3rd Infantry Battalion. Mission is a Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) Active Auxiliary (CAA) assigned at the Lasang detachment of the TFD. Binondo and Segovia are both posing as soldiers while Impas is said to be a gun-for-hire member.

Dimaandal said the operation was successful due to the cooperation of the TFD, the Task Force Tagum, the 71st Infantry Battalion and 46th Infantry Battalion, and the Tagum City Police Station.

The buy-bust was conducted after the test buy they conducted on Macagubang turned out positive.

Dimaandal said Macagubang, a high-value target being a government agent, has long been placed under surveillance.

The suspects were arrested for conspiring with each other in selling a sachet of shabu worth P1,000 to an undercover agent who acted as poseur buyer during the operation conducted 2:45 a.m. at Purok Talisay, Seminary Drive, Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Dimaandal said a shoot-out erupted as the armed Impas shot the arresting officer.

He said the vehicle used by the operatives was hit by a bullet coming from Impas.

Operatives hit Impas but he managed to escape. He was later arrested in the nearby hospital in Tagum where he took shelter.

Impas, Dimaandal said, is a member of a gun-for-hire group operating in Davao del Norte.

Mission, on the other hand, also managed to escape arrest. However, he reported to work later that day where he was collared by his superiors who were already informed by the PDEA agents.

The others suspects were arrested on the spot.

Authorities were able to seize from the suspects four medium-sized sachets, suspected to contain shabu weighing about five grams with a street value of P75,000. The P1,000 buy-bust money was also recovered.

Three units of .45 caliber firearms with live ammunitions were seized during the operation.

The XRM and Bajah motorcycles allegedly used in the illegal drug activities were also confiscated.

The five suspects were tested positive in the drug test conducted after their arrest.

The suspects are now detained at PDEA XI detention facility pending the filing of charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) and Republic Act 10591 (Illegal Possession of Firearms).

Dimaandal said they are conducting further investigation on the background of Binondo and Segovia, who both possessed fake military identification cards.

Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, the 10th Infantry Division commander, said his command is not tolerating any illegal activities.

“10ID does not tolerate any illegal activity of its soldiers, especially if it involves illegal drug,” Clement said.

Lt. Col. Raymund Dante Lachica, the commander of 3rd IB based in Malagos, Calinan District, echoed Clement’s statement.

“We do not tolerate such act and we will do our part to punish our personnel who are involved in criminal activities,” said Lachica, assuring that appropriate penalty would be imposed to the guilty soldier.

The 3rd IB, originally under the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, is currently under the operational control of 10th ID’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade.

Col. Nolasco Mempin, the TFD commander, confirmed that Mission is a militiaman assigned at its Lasang detachment.

When the TFD received inquiries from the PDEA regarding Mission, they immediately turned him over to anti-drug agency for questioning and further investigation.

Mempin said Mission admitted his involvement in illegal drugs activity to the agents.

He said the TF Davao is extending full cooperation and support to PDEA to weed out scalawags in its unit.

For this year, he said the TF Davao already conducted three random drug tests to ensure that all of its personnel are free from illegal drugs.