ORMOC CITY – Seven men and a woman were nabbed in a raid at a suspected drug den at Purok Rosal, Brgy. Cogon, this city, in a squatter’s area just a stone’s throw away from the New Ormoc City Hall here at around 8:00 in the evening of Tuesday, January 29.
The police raided the rented room of one Sheryl Canoday, 27, only around 8 square meters in size but where police chanced on seven men, including two guards of the Lopez-owned Energy Development Corporation (EDC), having a pot session.
Confiscated from them were three small sachets of suspected shabu said to value at P 500 each on the street; tooters, tin foils and lighters; cash of various denominations amounting to P 2,800 and five cellular phones. The police also took for safekeeping three motorcycles, one which did not have a plate number, that some of the suspects owned.
The suspects were identified as Canoday, the drug den operator; security guards George Jaralbio and Jericho G. Templado, who said they were from Samar and Cebu, respectively; Emmanuel and Bernie Daniola from Brgy. Bagongbuhay, this city; cousins Sergius and Alvin Baludo with their uncle Edgar Baludo from District 29 (Nadongholan), this city. They were all aged from 20 to 33.
Canoday’s daughter, 10 years old, who was around during the raid, was immediately taken into the custody of the city social welfare office.
Ch. Insp. Ibrahim Jambiran, city police station one chief, said the raid was the fruit of their unrelenting surveillance of reported drug dens in the city. He said Canoday would be charged for maintaining a drug den, a non-bailable offense while the seven others will be charged for drug use.
He added that in case some of them turn out negative for drug use in the mandatory drug test, they will still be charged for visiting a drug den. This, he said, was still a serious offense under the Comprehensive Anti- Illegal Drugs Act of 2002. Jambiran explained this after the two EDC guards claimed they were just “first timers” and had not even yet taken a toot when the police came.
One of the guards, Jaralbio, did come out negative but was still charged for “visiting a drug den”.
Meanwhile, Canoday did not deny that she maintained a drug den, saying she was just doing it to earn a little for their sustenance. Her live-in partner is a cook of a fast-food chain in the city. She said the asking price of drug dens here in Ormoc is P 20.00 per head for a pot session, but denied selling drugs, saying her customers brought it elsewhere and just did their pot sessions in her tiny room.
She added she was not the only one making a living out of maintaining a drug den at their neighborhood, pointing to her next-door neighbor as also maintaining one. They even preceded her, she said, and suspects they were the ones who ratted on her because she was able to entice some of their regular clients to transfer to her. “Suko man na sila nako kay ako kuno giakit ila mga customer. Wa man na nako sila akita, ako raman na sila agnihon na diri unta sa amo kay para naa mi pangpalit pagkaon”, she said. (They claim I seduced their customers. I don’t, I just ask them that if possible, they do pot sessions at my room because we need the money.)
The house she pointed to was closed and all lights were put off while the raid was going on, but people milling around said there were at least four “customers” inside. However, the raiding team said they could not just barge into the house with the lack of a warrant.
A member of the raiding team, however, had an amusing anecdote. He said that when they arrived and announced the raid, the house was still open and he saw an old woman kneeling before the altar, praying. When he came near her, she turned to him and said, “Ay’g saba, naay mga police nag raid”. After that, the old woman closed the door and put off all the lights.
Canoday said that she would get “customers” all times of the day, including government employees. She also added that her “business” and that of her neighbors has been going on for a long time already and that it was an “open secret” among neighbors. She added that there was a few more dens in the area, and cried that she only had the bad luck of being caught.
The raid on Canoday was covered by a search warrant issued by Ormoc executive judge Clinton C. Nuevo. The raid was witnessed by barangay councilor Eleazar T. Dagle, Department of Justice representative Rita Judy Pedoy and a media representative. By Lalaine M. Jimenea