Boss’ wife at center of raging PDEA rowBy Leila B. Salaverria, Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Is it a sin to tip off your boss about his wife’s indiscretion?
Carlos Gadapan raised this question after Malacañang ordered his removal as deputy director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last week, without, according to him, any justifiable reason.
Gadapan, a retired police superintendent, surmised that his unceremonious exit was triggered by the information he gave to PDEA Director General Jose Gutierrez Jr. regarding the alleged gambling habits of Gutierrez’s wife.
A letter he received on September 14 from Malacañang informed him that President Benigno Aquino had lost confidence in him.
“As far as I know, I did not do anything wrong against the government or PDEA,” a dejected Gadapan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“It’s very sad. I cannot explain what I’m feeling because I did not expect that I will be relieved this way,” he lamented. “It really hurts when the President himself tells you that he has lost confidence in you. I cannot understand what I did to deserve that.”
But if there was one thing he did to cause his dismissal from office, he said it could have been his decision to tell Gutierrez that his wife had been losing millions of pesos in a casino in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
He said he was planning to write the President “to air my side” and ask for a transparent evaluation of his performance in the agency.
Gutierrez told reporters in an ambush interview yesterday that the National Bureau of Investigation was looking into the agency’s affairs, including Gadapan’s allegations. He said he told PDEA officials about the NBI inquiry and asked them to cooperate.
“Let the investigating body clear the issues and resolve the issues,” he said. “If there are lapses and the President has lost faith in me, I will step down without any side comments.”
Asked to elaborate, he said, “Somebody’s lusting after my position.”
She doesn’t gamble
Gutierrez claimed his wife did not gamble, did not even know how to play mahjong or card games, was not very adept at using computers so she could not engage in online gambling.
He said that as far as he knows his wife went to casinos only when she was with members of Philippine National Police Ladies Club. He said he himself did not gamble.
Gutierrez also said he did not ask Malacañang to remove Gadapan. He said he was out of the country when the Palace sent its letter to Gadapan.
He denied allegations that the PDEA was protecting drug lords. He also refused to speculate on Gadapan’s motives.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Tuesday he only knew that Gadapan was sacked because of “loss of confidence.” He said he did not have details.
Senator Gregorio Honasan announced Tuesday that his committee on public order and illegal drugs would conduct a hearing on developments in the PDEA.
In a privilege speech, also Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III called for the inquiry. Sotto said that as chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board, he had worked with Gadapan. He said an inquiry was needed to strengthen PDEA so it could fulfill its mission.
Gadapan said his informants told him that the PDEA chief’s wife had become addicted to slot machines and was gambling way beyond her means.
Fearing that addiction to gambling of his superior’s wife may compromise the integrity of PDEA and its operatives, Gadapan said he decided to relay the information to Gutierrez in June.
“He (Gutierrez) was in disbelief. I was just concerned about the agency and his wife, who was openly identifying herself as the wife of the PDEA director general,” Gadapan said.
Wife owes millions
Asked about his relationship with Gutierrez, Gadapan said they had been like “father and son.”
“Our relationship only turned sour because he could not accept the information I disclosed to him. He then started linking me to some things I had no knowledge of,” he said.
A member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1987, Gadapan said he believed Gutierrez was already aware of his wife’s activities, but he just ignored the information he had been getting.
He said Gutierrez’s wife owed “millions of pesos” to gambling financiers and even to some PDEA directors.
Gadapan said the PDEA chief’s wife owed at least P600,000 from PDEA officials alone. He said the woman once tried to borrow P300,000 from him, but he told her that he could not lend her such a large amount of cash.
“I’m just concerned that she could be receiving money from drug lords. That’s very possible for someone who has been addicted to gambling,” Gadapan said. “She owes money from a lot of people.”
Asked if she could be using PDEA funds for her gambling habits, Gadapan said: “That’s what we feel.”
Told to elaborate, he said, “We feel that way when we carry out operations (which are) not properly supported (financially).” With a report from Norman Bordadora