PDEA-NCR chief sacked over Taguig district office drug bust

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

December 12, 2022, 4:56 pm

<p>PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazo<em> (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)</em></p>

PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazo (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – The regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the National Capital Region (NCR) has been relieved from his post following the buy-bust in Taguig City, where a ranking official and two agents were arrested.

In a press briefing at Camp Bagong Diwa Monday, PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazaro announced that Emerson Rosales is the new chief of PDEA-NCR, replacing Christian Frivaldo.

“He (Rosales) is now the new regional director for NCR,” Lazo said.

Rosales was the PDEA-Western Visayas director before his designation as PDEA-NCR chief.

Lazo also announced that all the other personnel of the PDEA Southern District Office have been also recalled due to last week’s incident.

“All the people that we assigned in the Southern District Office have been replaced,” Lazo said, without giving the number of SDO personnel who were replaced.

PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon said Frivaldo was ordered relieved last week for command responsibility.

“That’s a normal course (of action) when there are incidents like that, (its) command responsibility. If there are incidents like that, (a PDEA official) is getting relieved administratively. It’s not because he is facing a case but because of the incident. It's normal to be relieved from a post,” he said.

During the Dec. 6 operation, SDO director Enrique Lucero, PDEA agents Anthony Vic Alabastro and Jaireh Llaguno, and Lucero’s driver Mark Warren Mallo yielded 1.35 kilos of shabu worth PHP9.18 million, the buy-bust money, four firearms and a digital weighing scale.

On Friday, the Taguig City government asked PDEA to turn over the city-owned building being used by SDO back to the local government as it condemned the involvement of the SDO personnel in the trade of illegal drugs.

Charges of sale and possession of illegal drugs have been already filed against Lucero and his companions before the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 8.

Lazo said Mayor Lani Cayetano declined a request from the new PDEA-NCR director and PDEA’s community relations officer for a courtesy call last week to discuss the matter.

“We will continue to know on the door of Taguig LGU and hopefully they will consider allowing us to use the building,” Lazo told reporters when sought for a comment.

Lazo said he will ask Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. to help PDEA in convincing the Taguig City government to reconsider its stance.

Abalos earlier said he will talk to Taguig City officials in connection with the temporary suspension of its support to the PDEA due to the involvement of its personnel in illegal drug activities. (PNA)