Former Baywalk Bodies member, others arrested in QC buy-bust ops
MANILA, Philippines (Updated) — Another supposed former member of the uniformed service — this time from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) — was arrested in an anti-drug operation in Quezon City, the city police said on Thursday.
Reports from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said that aside from Fidel Samson Jr., who investigators said was a Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1987 member and a former AFP personnel, Kathrine “Kat” Santos of the disbanded group Baywalk Bodies and three others were arrested on Wednesday night in Barangay Salvacion, La Loma, Quezon City.
QCPD director Brig. Gen. Remus Medina said that operatives from their District Drug Enforcement Unit (DDEU) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) National Capital Region Office conducted the buy-bust operation in front of a house in Iba Street.
However, the suspects sensed that they were transacting with police operatives and tried to drive away aboard their black Toyota Fortuner.
A brief chase followed, with the suspects firing at the operatives, prompting the latter to return fire. The chase only stopped after the fleeing suspects bumped into another vehicle along Tecson Street in Manila’s Barangay 379.
Samson, Santos, and a certain Victor Ronquillo were arrested, while two other suspects identified as Ferdinand Parado and Lisa Cuenco were brought to the Chinese General Hospital after sustaining injuries.
QCPD claimed that Samson was with the AFP but was removed from his post for participation in the 1989 coup d’etat.
However, AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala told INQUIRER.net that Samson was not even a PMA graduate and that he was not dismissed from service due to participation in a coup.
Zagala said Samson only reached the second year of his stay with PMA when the suspect was dismissed.
“He was an ex cadet and not an officer as he says. He did not graduate and was not involved in the 89 coup. He was a member of the AFP as a cadet after which he was dismissed,” Zagala said in a text message.
Samson, Santos, and Ronquillo are listed in the Directorate of Intelligence’s drug watch list. This is also not Samson and Santos’ first brush with the law: in 2011, QCPD said that the former military man faced a case for violation of Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, and a drug-related case in 2017.
Santos on the other hand was charged for violating R.A. No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in 2018 — an arrest that has been documented by news agencies.
She was also served an arrest order in 2016 for another drug-related case and for being listed as the top seven most wanted person of the La Loma Police Station.
QCPD said that around 120 grams of suspected crystal meth or shabu, worth around P816,000, were seized from the suspects along with the following items:
- cellular phone
- .45 caliber Colt with magazine and a bullet
- two slug .45 caliber bullets
- caliber 9mm pistol with serial no. 1531728 with magazine loaded with seven ammunition
- two fired cartridge
- a black Toyota Fortuner
Samson, Santos, Ronquillo, and Cuenco will be facing charges for violation of R.A. No. 9165 while additional charges will be filed against Cuenco and Parado for violation of R.A. 10591 in relation to the election gun ban, and for direct assault.
Just earlier, the Southern Police District said that a police officer who had gone absent without official leave (AWOL) along with his cohort were arrested in a separate buy-bust operation in Makati City’s Barangay Palanan.
Seized from the suspect — Police Cpl. Ronaldo Robles, who was last assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (RPHAU) of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) — were 19 grams of shabu said to be worth around P129,200.
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