By Aaron Recuenco
A 36-year old man who is on the top 10 list of alleged drug pushers in Caraga region allegedly invested the cash assistance he received from the national government in his illegal drugs activities, police said.
Maj. Gen. Joel Napoleon Coronel, director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said suspect Jerome Bardoz leads a small group of drug syndicates operating in Butuan City.
At around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, local police backed by CIDG operatives conducted a buy-bust operation in Barangay 17, Port Poyohon in Butuan City, which later led to Bardoz’s arrest.
Seized from him were several sachets of shabu (crystal meth), an improvised glass tooter, and a cellular phone.
During the investigation, Coronel said they found out Bardoz was among the recipients of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) which gives cash assistance to the poorest of the poor affected by the lockdown.
“Allegedly, the proceeds amounting to P5,000 [that] he received as SAP beneficiary were used… [for] his illegal drugs trading activities,” Coronel said.
Bardoz was taken to the local CIDG office in Butuan City and is now facing criminal charges.
Earlier, President Duterte expressed his dismay over the improper use of cash assistance by some of the recipients. Based on several police reports, some of the beneficiaries have been using portions of the cash aid for illegal gambling and to buy liquor.
Several drug pushers and users who were included in the list of beneficiaries also ended up being arrested for using the emergency subsidy to buy illegal drugs such as marijuana and shabu.