Ex-Catanduanes lawmaker charged over illegal drug lab | Inquirer News

Ex-Catanduanes lawmaker charged over illegal drug lab

By: - Correspondent / @msarguellesINQ
/ 05:12 AM March 13, 2020

LEGAZPI CITY — Virac town police have filed charges against former Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento for alleged conspiracy and for allegedly accepting P20-million protection money in connection with the operation of an illegal drugs laboratory in the town.

The complaint affidavit against Sarmiento was filed by Ernesto Tabor Jr. before the Department of Justice in Manila based on the result of the police’s preliminary investigation on the case of the clandestine drug laboratory discovered in Barangay Palta Small, Virac, Catanduanes, in 2016, Bicol police spokesperson Maj. Maria Luisa Calubaquib said in a statement.

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Sarmiento on Thursday said he had yet to receive a copy of the complaint but added he would submit a counteraffidavit once he gets it.

In a phone interview, Sarmiento branded the charges as politically motivated.

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“Politics is all behind this fiasco. It’s plain and simple fabrication and will not hold water,” he said, adding he had never met Tabor or lawyer Eric Isidoro, the principal accused in a separate case involving the illegal drugs lab.

The complaint was based on the affidavit of Tabor, a state witness in the case, as well as the findings of Virac police investigators.

Tabor accused Sarmiento of receiving P20 million as protection money as well as conspiring with Isidoro, a lawyer and former National Bureau of Investigation director for the antinarcotics division who, in a separate case was the principal accused in the operation of the illegal drug laboratory.

Isidoro is in a Makati City jail with Lorenzo Piñera II, the caretaker of the property where the drug lab was located, after the case was transferred from Virac to a Makati court.

Tabor said he wanted to uncover the participation of Sarmiento, who was not named in the earlier police investigation, “because of his strong influence and array of networks both from the national government and the police.”

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TAGS: Catanduanes, drug laboratory, Illegal drugs, Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, Virac
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