January 29, 2006

Prov’l dad hits false reports on Currimao port raid

Alleging that the news reports published by some national dailies regarding the search operation conducted by police in two warehouses located at the Currimao seaport were “sensational”, Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) member Mariano V. Marcos II decried the impartiality and irresponsibility of the media outfits concerned as they apparently did not verify the reports they gathered from various sources.

In setting the record straight, Marcos clarified that the search operation conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was a failure as they were unable to confiscate anything that was at the warehouses being managed by several Chinese nationals. The police operatives were from Metro Manila.

The police search team merely took several samples and has invited the Chinese nationals concerned for questioning in Manila. Marcos however stressed that the search result was negative.

The neophyte board member further stated that although the Currimao port has returned to normal operations, he expressed fears that the incident may make prospective investors to back off for fear of their businesses being sabotaged and may look elsewhere to do business.

Marcos also divulged that after the search operation, a dozen SAF members stayed at the Currimao port where they later allegedly ransacked the Chinese national’s kitchen at the warehouses.

“For instance, ‘nong wala silang nakita ‘nung (when their search yieleded nothing on) Tuesday—the day of the supposed search, may iniwan silang mga labindalawang (they left behind 12) SAF soldiers. Anong ginawa ng SAF? Ewan ko (What did the SAF operatives do? I don’t know) but the following day, ransacked na ‘yung kitchen ng mga Chinese. Wala na ‘yung bote ng kanilang wine, alcohol at pati ‘yung mga cabbage na supposedly pampakain ng mga pato ay kinain ng SAF (the Chinese nationals’ kitchen was ransacked. Their bottles of wine, alcohol were gone and even the cabbage that was supposed to be fed to ducks were eaten by the SAF operatives),” Marcos revealed.

The senior board member also divulged that they have gathered enough evidence against the police officers should they want to seek legal action against them.

Marcos, who operates a cargo handling firm in the seaport, also emphasized that they are merely cargo handlers in the port and not the owners as may be the perception of some people.

Meanwhile, SP member Renato Ma. R. Peralta, the provincial board’s committee on peace and order chair, opined that all raids conducted in Ilocos Norte must be properly coordinated by concerned authorities to their local counterparts in the province so as not to violate protocols.

“There must be proper coordination with agencies concerned before a raid is conducted. Before they do so, they should conduct a more in-depth investigation. A raid should not solely be conducted because I suspect that there must be some personal motive involved and that is not good,” Peralta said as he cited in particular the PNP’s operation against illegal drugs where several cases filed in courts had been dismissed due to technicalities.

Peralta explained that in such cases, the law clearly states that during buy-bust operations or raids, a representative of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) must be present, a requirement that is sometimes not met by raiding teams.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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