Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Repost From GMA News.TV

Recruiter of executed Pinay drug mule turns self in to NBI

The recruiter accused of having Filipino drug mule Sally Villanueva (executed last March 30) bring illegal drugs into China in 2008 turned herself in to the National Bureau of Investigation and spent Friday night at the NBI headquarters in Manila.

A report on radio dzBB Saturday said Mapet Cortez (a.k.a. Tita Cacayan) asked for protection as she feared for her life.

"May naghahanap daw sa kanya, mas panatag ang loob niya rito (She said there were people looking for her. She felt safer here)," NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula said.

But Gatdula said the NBI still does not have the power to detain Cacayan because her case is still in the preliminary investigation stage.

According to him, Cacayan is considered in the NBI's "protective custody" and can leave any time, at least for now.

Last Thursday, deputy director for intelligence Ruel Lasala said, "Mainit yan, baka gawan ng masama. Ikaw ang malagay sa lugar nila, maraming galit (Cacayan is scared because she fears reprisal from her other supposed victims)."

Villanueva was one of three drug mules executed in China last Wednesday. The other two were Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain.

In her affidavit, Villanueva said Cacayan had her bring to China a bag, which turned out to contain illegal drugs. Drug trafficking is a capital offense in China.

Scholarship offers

Meanwhile, Villanueva's father Peter Ordinario arrived in Isabela province Friday to be with Villanueva's children.

Ordinario had said he will discuss with Villanueva's children an offer from a Catholic school to give them scholarships.

The Elizabeth Seton School (ESS) offered free basic education schooling for the children of Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, starting School Year 2011-2012.

“We as a community would like to... offer free basic education schooling for both her children, inclusive of boarding and all other expenses related to their education starting School Year 2011-2012," ESS human resources office head Anne Samson said in an interview on dzBB radio.

Samson also said the school was willing to shoulder the expenses of the children’s relocation. She added the scholarships will be in effect until they graduate from high school.

“Should they be willing to relocate we will cover the expenses. We’re willing to make arrangements on their behalf," she said.

Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay also said he will grant scholarships to the children of the three executed drug mules.

Binay said the children of Villanueva, Batain and Credo will be given scholarships through the JCB Foundation in which he is the founding chairman.

Villanueva had a daughter and a son, Batain had two daughters and Credo had a son.

Meanwhile, the relatives of Credo also went to the NBI to seek help in getting the recruiter who sent Credo to his doom.

Credo's cremated remains arrived in Manila earlier this week.

The report said Credo's relatives offered leads on the recruiter, who was not immediately named.

Campaign vs drug smuggling syndicates

After the execution of three Filipino drug mules in China, the Department of Foreign Affairs called anew for a coordinated campaign against illegal drugs smuggling syndicates.

The DFA said the protection of overseas Filipinos should start at home, where the capacity of the Philippine government to help them is at its highest.

"Closer coordination is also needed among agencies [such as] the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine National Police, the NBI, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in running after international drug syndicates which have increasingly victimized Filipinos as drug couriers," it said in a news release posted on its website.

"Also, a sustained information and awareness campaign against the illegal drug use and trafficking menace will prevent the further victimization of Filipinos, building on the intense publicity generated by the recent carrying out of capital punishments in China," it added.

It particularly called for the PDEA leading law enforcement agencies in going after drug rings.

Also, it called for the involvement of local government units through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), noting many Filipinos recruited as drug mules come from the provinces.

"The above efforts should lead to a more aggressive apprehension and prosecution of international drug traffickers, particularly West African drug syndicates who are operating not only overseas but also within the country, with Filipino cohorts," it said.

The DFA likewise pushed a stronger international police and legal cooperation with foreign drug enforcement agencies and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

On Feb. 8 last year, an inter-agency task force on drug couriers chaired by the PDEA was created.

The DFA said the task force can be strengthened by including the DILG and the Department of Justice among its members.

Current members of the task force are the DFA, BI, BOC, PNP, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Information Agency, the Manila International Airport Authority, and the Philippine Tourism Authority.

Meanwhile, the DFA also called for personal vigilance and responsibility on the part of Filipinos who travel overseas.

"They should not agree to carry any packages or luggage for strangers, even supposed friends or employers, or consent to carry packages in exchange for money. Our people can take fuller responsibility for their actions by always being on guard against such inducements," it said. — LBG, GMA News

Reposted From GMA News.TV

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