CEBU CITY–The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday served a freeze order on a property owned by a couple who was suspected be members of the Kuratong Baleleng drug group.
No less than PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva led the hanging of a tarpaulin on the fence of a two-story house at the posh Nichol’s Park in Barangay Guadalupe.
“This property is under freeze order,” part of the notice printed on the tarpaulin read.
The freeze order was issued by the Special Second Division of the Court of Appeals.
The house which was said to be worth P5 million is owned by couple Artemio and Daisy Salas, who are wanted for illegal drug charges, said Villanueva.
Daisy is the sister of then Ozamis Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was killed in a police raid in July 2017.
“They are members of the Kuratong Baleleng drug group whose leader was the late mayor of Ozamis Reynaldo,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva said the role of the Salas couple was to launder the proceeds of drug group, said Villanueva.
“They have properties in Ozamis, Maasin and Cebu. It shows that this drug group has been operating in Cebu, Leyte and Ozamis,” said Villanueva.
Artemio Baculi, sub-group head of the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s anti-drug trafficking group, said the couple has seven bank accounts, 12 motor vehicles and assorted firearms that have already been frozen.
“The freeze order is related to drug trafficking. That is the predicate crime that we used that’s why were able to freeze the properties,” said Baculi.
Baculi said the couple’s bank’s transactions involved millions of pesos.
“Our bank inquiry is ongoing but this involves millions that did not commensurate with their source of income. They said they were security officers but they managed to transact millions and they were able to acquire these kind of properties,” said Baculi.
Villanueva said the freeze order will prohibit the couple from selling the frozen properties.
“Freezing the properties will prevent the drug group from using these properties to run their operations. Freezing is part of our job, we want to bleed them with their own money,” said Villanueva.
After freezing, the next goal is to forfeit the property in favor of the government, said Villanueva.
Once forfeited, proceeds of the properties will be used in the anti-illegal drug campaign and in the rehabilitation and reintegration program of the government.