Congressional probe sought into controversial Davao de Oro drug raid

Published November 10, 2021, 7:15 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Makabayan bloc sought on Wednesday, Nov. 10 a congressional inquiry into the anti-drug operations conducted by law enforcement agencies in Davao de Oro that triggered allegations of cover up in the involvement of a Davao City information officer.

Drug raid Davao de Oro

In House Resolution No. 2342, members of the Makabayan group in the Lower House underscored the need to determine the truth behind the incident amid allegations that former Davao City information chief Jefry Tupas and several other individuals were freed and were allowed to leave even when the police operatives have already secured the subject area of the raid.

A total 17 individuals were arrested while at least 33 others, including Tupas, were allegedly freed.

Authors of the resolution included Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate; Reps. Ferdinand R. Gaite and Eufemia C. Cullamat of Bayan Muna; Asst. Minority Leader France Castro (ACT Teachers Partylist); Asst. Minority Leader Arlene D. Brosas (Gabriela Women’s Partylist) and Rep. Sarah Jane I. Elago (Kabataan Partylist) Tupas was a long-time aide of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and information officer of the city government. He offered to resign his post but was fired before he could formally tender his resignation.

Citing reports from interviews conducted by the Newsline Philippines, Makabayan solons disclosed that the raid was conducted jointly on November 6 by operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Davao, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Mabini Municipal Police Station.

The raiders swooped down on a resort in Barangay Barangay Pindasan, Mabini, Davao de Oro where a beach party with about 50 people was being held. Some P1.5 million worth of shabu and illegal party drugs were reportedly seized during the raid.

Police operatives arrested 17 individuals who are expected to be charged with possession of the illegal substance.

Tupas denied involved in the use or possession of the drugs, saying that he left said he left the party before the police came.

“Whereas, the suspects arrested during the said raid, however, claimed in an interview with online media outlet, Newsline Philippines, that the law enforcers made a cover-up by allowing Jefrey Tupas and other partygoers to leave the resort during the raid. The suspects claim that there are at least 50 partygoers when the authorities staged the raid,” the Makabayan solon stated in HR 2342.
 The authors of HR 2342 recalled that the news item cited those arrested as having insisted that “they heard law enforcer agents calling several names, including the names of Jefrey Tupas, her boyfriend and another companion.” “The group of Tupas, they claimed, was then later on allowed to leave the resort. Another suspect also claimed that the confiscated and inventoried items came from Tupas and her companions, but the raiding team later on presented such materials as the possessions of the arrested individuals,” HR 2342 stated.

They Makabayan lawmakers stated: “Whereas, these allegations related to this recent drug raid operations conducted in Davao de Oro is emblematic of the failed bloody anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte administration.” The solons belonging to four different partylist organizations said the government’s anti-drug campaign “reeks of double standard or of selective justice”.

“This ‘war on drugs’ has already claimed the lives of innocent citizens mostly form poor families, including minors and youth,” they added.