DAR head dismayed over employee’s arrest in anti-drug ops

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones has expressed dismay over the arrest of a DAR employee in this city who was allegedly caught using illegal drugs inside his home on Wednesday.

The arrest of lawyer Mario Jay Pielago, 53, DAR-10 chief legal officer, coincided with Castriciones’ visit to the agency’s regional office in Northern Mindanao on Wednesday.

The DAR chief said he was “disappointed and “angered”when he was informed of Pielago’s arrest.

Castriciones added that Pielago tested positive for drug use when DAR-10 conducted its own surprise drug test last December.

Pielago was caught in the act of sniffing what authorities believed as methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu”, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 10.

Seized during the raid inside the lawyer’s residence in Barangay Kauswagan, this city, were three medium-size sachets of suspected shabu worth P75,000 and various drug paraphernalia.

PDEA-10 agent Ben Calibre said the agency has been monitoring Pielago’s movements when informed of his alleged links with illegal drugs.

Calibre said based on their surveillance and information provided by tipsters, the suspect is both a drug pusher and user.

For his part, Pielago has denied he is a drug user although he admitted that he used to sniff shabu in the past. He also denied the confiscated sachets were his.

In a Facebook post, PDEA-10 Regional Director Wilkins Villanueva hailed Pielago’s arrest as an “opening salvo” since he was reassigned to the region a few days ago. Jigger Jerusalem/PNA-northboundasia.com