By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY — The chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Western Visayas has been replaced following the release of four key drug leaders belonging to the Odicta gang.
Alex Tablate has taken over Emerson Margate as official-in-charge (OIC) of the regional PDEA office after Margate and seven other agents were sacked by PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
PDEA regional spokesman David Garcia said Margate and the seven agents were transferred out pending investigation.
Four in-laws of alleged drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. walked free more than a day after their arrest in a December 13 raid, when their detention period expired without any charge being filed.
PDEA failed to charge Cyril Regalado, Leo Regalado, Arnulfo Regalado, and Nilda Regalado despite recovering almost P400,000 worth of shabu and several firearms from them during the raid.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, had told Manila Bulletin he questioned the real motive behind the failure to charge the high-value target drug suspects.
Bulalacao said Margate told him that PDEA failed to file the charges before the city prosecutor because of a broken photocopier machine.