Ilocos Norte lawyer falls in drug buy-bust operation

Ilocos Norte lawyer falls in drug buy-bust operation

LAOAG CITY — Anti-illegal drug operatives on Monday arrested a lawyer in a drug bust in Barangay 10 here.

Chief M/Sgt. Harold Nicolas, team leader of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU), in an interview said lawyer Michael Llaguno, 43, a resident of Barangay 1 Ricarte, Batac City has been on the drug watch list of the Philippine National Police since 2016.

Authorities seized at least three sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) from Llaguno, including the PHP1,000 buy-bust money.

The chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) in Ilocos Norte said they have been monitoring Llaguno’s illegal drug activities in Laoag, Batac, San Nicolas and Paoay since he was placed under the national watch list in 2017.

The suspect said the transaction happened in Barangay 5 but Llaguno immediately left, which prompted a brief chase. Lawmen finally caught up with him in Barangay 10.

In a separate radio interview after the arrest, Llaguno claimed the evidence was planted.

“God knows there is no truth to it. Some witnesses saw how the police dragged me out of my car. Nothing was taken from me so I don’t know how they acquired it,” said Llaguno.

He explained he was in Barangay 5 to deposit money in a bank and there was no pursuit operation conducted that day.

Llaguno though admitted that he has clients involved in prohibited drugs.

Meanwhile, lawyer Bernie Francis Constantino, president of the IBP-Ilocos Norte said he was shocked to know of his fellow lawyer’s alleged involvement in prohibited drugs. 

Nonetheless, he said that Llaguno or any other accused has the right to defend himself. 
“The rule of law must prevail. We are not saying that when we lawyer for the accused or anyone, we are already siding with him. We just need to ensure that the procedures were followed and the rights of the accused are protected,” he said,  noting that Llaguno has the right to engage the services of the IBP if he wants.  Leilanie Adriano / PNA –