Senators suspect ‘drug queen’ talk mere diversion ploy
Senators on Thursday raised questions about the police’s naming of an alleged “drug queen” who had fled the country, saying the move could be a diversionary tactic or a ploy to protect higher-ups.
Police officials said on Wednesday that Guia Gomez Castro was the buyer of drugs that law enforcers had seized during operations but pilfered and sold by rogue officers.
Sen. Richard Gordon questioned the timing of Castro’s identification, which he said came as authorities were taking a closer look at the activities of “ninja cops,” or law enforcers who sell seized drugs. (See related story on Page A9)
“Why did that lady, that drug queen suddenly come out? There seems to be an attempt to focus the camera away from what’s happening,” Gordon told reporters.
If the police had known about Castro’s activities, he said, then why did they allow her to leave the country?
Maybe she knows a lot
“It could be to divert the attention, or she knows a lot,” Gordon said, adding that Castro’s flight may be intended to eliminate a witness against senior police officials.
The Bureau of Immigration said on Wednesday that Castro left for Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept. 21.
She wasn’t stopped at the airport because she had no derogatory record, the bureau said.
Asked if Castro’s flight could be considered a failure on the part of the police, Gordon replied, “Most definitely.”
“I think they should really investigate how that happened. If there is a drug [suspect] like that, immigration should have been alerted,” he said.
Gordon said he had been in politics long enough to know when there were attempts to manipulate the media.
Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima raised similar questions about Castro and her flight.
If the police knew about her illegal activities, why did they allow her to leave the country, she asked.
“This is a far cry from the fate of poor drug suspects who are shot and killed even before they could step out of their homes,” De Lima said in a statement.
“They don’t have the opportunity to defend themselves, but the likes of Peter Lim and Castro are apparently protected by those in power,” she added.
The timing of Castro’s flight was also questionable, De Lima said.
She noted that it came amid the hearings on the irregular application of the good conduct time allowance law for convicts, the recycling of seized drugs and the activities of the ninja cops.
“Was Castro deliberately allowed to escape because she knows a lot about ninja police officers and their protectors?” De Lima asked.
“Was the issue also blown up to divert discussions away from the anomalous implementation of the [good conduct law] by crooked officials like [former Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor] Faeldon?” she added.
To be suspended for probe
Castro is chair of Barangay 484 Zone 48 in Sampaloc, Manila, and because she is a government official, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Thursday, she will be suspended when she returns to the country and “invited” for investigation.
“She should answer the accusations against her and we will conduct an investigation, even discreetly, to find out if they are true and determine who her contacts are,” Año said.
Barangay 484 is a small community along the Philippine National Railways tracks in Sampaloc where residents say they cannot imagine Castro as a drug trader.
“I cannot believe it because I have never seen ninja cops here,” barangay secretary Maria Moya told the Inquirer on Thursday.
“I have never seen ‘shabu’ here either,” she added, using the local name of crystal meth.
Moya said Castro owned several businesses, including a tarpaulin-sign printing shop, a hardware store and a junk shop.
Castro was first elected barangay chair in 2007. She was reelected in 2010 then gave way to her husband in 2013-2018.
She was elected barangay chair again last year, but reportedly did not take her oath of office.
Castro went on an indefinite leave this year to take care of her ailing mother in Surigao province, but according to documents from Manila City Hall, her leave was good only up to June 25. The first councilor is the officer in charge of the barangay.
Moya said Castro and her family were traveling abroad, but she did not know where. —WITH REPORTS FROM NIKKA G. VALENZUELA AND JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE
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