By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—A barangay councilor was arrested along with his son and his nephew after they were caught harvesting fully-grown marijuana plants in Balamban town, western Cebu.
Police said Leopoldo Bonghanoy, 64, Arnel Castro, 37, and Fernan Bonghanoy were caught cutting down marijuana plants in Sitio Capyoan, Barangay Sunog early morning last Thursday.
Police Major Christian Torres, chief of the Balamban Police Station, said the three suspects may have tried to hastily harvest the marijuana plants after sensing that operatives of the Balamban Police Station (BPS), Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Central Visayas were on their way to the plantation.
Aside from arresting the three suspects, law enforcers also seized the 22,000 marijuana plants worth P8.8 million.
Torres said the three suspects denied that they were the cultivators of the marijuana plantation but water hoses that may have been used to maintain the marijuana plants were found in the house of the Bonghanoys.
Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay arrived in the area and was shocked to see the police arresting Leopoldo, who was his “kumpare.”
Binghay witnessed the burning of the uprooted marijuana plants.
Charges for violation of Section 16 of the Republic Act 9165 will be filed against the suspects, police said.