Two delivery riders were accosted by authorities after they tried to sneak in packages allegedly containing illegal drugs to two quarantined returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) at an isolation facility in Taguig City, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Taguig City Police reported Friday, Aug. 20.
Police identified one of the delivery riders as Joel Santillan, 38, of Valenzuela City. Meanwhile, Sandy Eduarte, 43, of Plaridel, Bulacan, and Raymond Bajao, 42, of Makilala, North Cotabato are both ROFs from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The identity of the other delivery rider was no longer divulged since he was later found to be innocent by the police.
The first delivery rider arrived at F1 Hotel in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) around 4 p.m. Thursday with a package declared to be containing clothes and a mobile phone, according to a report from PCG Task Group Bantay Bayanihan.
The package was intended to be delivered to the ROFs, police said.
However, during an inspection, authorities found a plastic sachet with methampethamine hydrochloride or “shabu” hidden on the back cover of the mobile phone, the PCG said.
The delivery rider was brought to the police station for questioning. However, the delivery rider was later proven to be innocent and had no knowledge of the contents of the package, the PCG said.
Around two hours after this, Santillan arrived in the same isolation hotel with a package again intended for the ROFs.
This time, the PCG said Santillan was actually a cousin of one of the ROFs whom he was supposed to deliver fresh supply of clothes.
Quarantine officer and nurse Julio Tiangco inspected the paper bag brought by Santillan where a plastic sachet containing shabu was found underneath the layer of clothes. He was brought to police for further investigation.
Rear Admiral Rolando Punzalan, commander of PCG Task Group Bantay Bayanihan, said charges will be filed against Santillan, Eduarte, and Bajao for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“Huwag na nating ilagay sa balag ng alanganin ang kapakanan ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers at iba pang ROF sa mga quarantine facilities (Let us not put the welfare of OFWs and other ROFs in quarantine facilities in jeopardy),” he said.
“Maliban sa nakokompromiso nito ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng ating mga kaanak, maaari pa tayong makasuhan dahil sa paglabag sa batas. Kailangan namin ang inyong kooperasyon (Aside from compromising the health and safety of our relatives, you can still be prosecuted for breaking the law. We need your cooperation),” he added.
Authorities recovered P5,540 worth of shabu and three cellular phones from thw suspects.
The police also confirmed that it was indeed shabu that were stuffed in the two packages that were delivered to the quarantined ROFs.