MANILA — Operatives of the PNP- Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested a military official and a Chinese national and seized an estimated PHP320 million worth of methamphetamine hydrocloride also known as ‘shabu’ during a anti-drug operation in Manila early on Thursday morning.

PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group Legal and Investigation Division chief Roque Merdeguia identified the suspects as Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, a member of the Philippine Marines and a former official of the PDEA Special Enforcement Services office and Yan Yi Shou, 33, a Chinese national, who also worked for PDEA as an interpreter.

Merdeguia said the suspects were arrested around 12:30 a.m. in a town house in Felix Huertas corner Batangas Streets, Sta. Cruz, Manila in the police operation based on the virtue of search warrant issued by Executive Judge Fernando Sagun Jr. of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

Merdeguia said based on the search warrant, the house serves as a storage area of illegal drugs but to their surprise, they discovered that it was actually a shabu laboratory.

He said over 64 kilos of shabu amounting to PHP320 million, other drug paraphernalia and three cellular phones allegedly used for illegal transactions were seized in the operation.

Merdeguia said they were also surprised by Marcelino’s presence in the area since he never appeared in the intelligence radar of the PNP and PDEA and he is also not in the “watch list” of persons involved in illegal drugs operation.

Merdeguia said they will probe the activities of Marcelino to identify his ties with the arrested Chinese national and other persons involved in illegal drugs activities.

For his part, PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac said since Marcelino is present in clandestine laboratory area during the operation, he is now considered as a suspect.

Cacdac who rushed to the area, ordered the investigation against Marcelino, who accompanied the Chinese national.However, Marcelino denied involvement in the operation of the illegal drugs laboratory, explaining that he was doing intelligence work in the area.

”I supposed they know each other because they arrived in the area together. We need to charge him in court so that he can defend himself and prove his innocence,” Cacdac said.

Marcelino is the head of the special enforcement service of PDEA during the leadership of former PDEA director general Dionisio Santiago from 2006 to 2011.

He led the arrest of one of the “top-level” drug peddlers, the “Alabang Boys” in 2008.

However, he was dismissed from PDEA after his men revealed that he is planting pieces of evidences to supposed drug suspects.

The suspects will be charged for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. PNA/