Land where Pampanga 'shabu' warehouse stood was owned by ex-mayor's bro | Inquirer News

Land where Pampanga ‘shabu’ warehouse stood was owned by ex-mayor’s bro

/ 03:42 PM October 09, 2023

Authorities are doing an inventory of P3.6 billion worth of shabu seized in Mexico, Pampanga. PHOTO FROM DOJ

An inventory is being done on P3.6 billion worth of shabu seized in Mexico, Pampanga in September 27, 2023. (File photo from DOJ)

MANILA, Philippines — The owner of the warehouse in Mexico, Pampanga — where over 500 kilograms of shabu were seized — apparently bought the land from the brother of the former Mexico town mayor.

The haul was confiscated after law enforcers conducted a so-called ‘controlled delivery operation’ to find out who would claim the illegal shipment.


This information was revealed during the hearing of the committee on dangerous drugs at House of Representatives on Monday.


As lawmakers investigated the two anti-drug operations in Pampanga, Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representative Johnny Pimentel asked the barangay chairperson of San Jose Malino if the warehouse had necessary permits.

The barangay captain said a building permit was issued to warehouse owner Willy Ong.

Ong is also the owner of the company called Empire 999 Realty Corporation.

Pimentel then shifted his attention to Mexico Mayor Rudencio Gonzales.

Gonzales said the warehouse permit was issued under the tenure of former Mexico Mayor Teddy Tumang.

Taking his turn answering questions, ex-Mayor Tumang said he was able to talk with Ong.


But he claimed he did not know the nature of Ong’s business.

“When Mr. Willy Ong approached you, what did he say? What business would he build? Warehouse?” Pimentel asked Tumang in Filipino.

Tumang said yes.

Pimentel then asked the former mayor to identify the owner of the land where the warehouse was built.

Tumang said the property belonged to one of his siblings.

“Now, Mayor Tumang, since you were the mayor (then), I suppose you know from whom the land was purchased?” Pimentel asked again.

“The first land, I do not know who owned that, because he bought two parcels. The second one, he bought was from my sibling,” Tumang said in Filipino.

“So, is this the one that was brought from your brother, Mayor Tumang, where the building of Empire sits?” Pimentel asked further.

“I am not sure if it was, indeed, built there, because the transaction was done three years ago,” Tumang answered.

Pimentel went on to ask Tumang if his sibling was someone named Ines Tumang.

The former mayor said Ines was only a relative.

He also said his brother probably bought the land in Barangay San Jose Malino from her.

However, the former local chief executive said the ownership of the land was probably not formally transferred anymore.

When asked again about the nature of Ong’s enterprise, Tumang said the warehouse owner told him, at that time, that he was still undecided as to what kind of business he would put up in Mexico.

“Weren’t you able to ask what his business was? You just take it as it is that they would build a warehouse?” Pimentel probed the former Mexico town mayor.

“But that’s suspicious, because they would build a warehouse, without saying what kind of business would be placed there, when you talked for two instances?” Pimentel asked Tumang.

“We asked them what business they would put up, but when I asked him, he was still undecided. But he mentioned the warehouse,” Tumang repeated his previous responses.

Illegal drugs worth over P3.6 billion were discovered in the warehouse in Pampanga on September 27.

The drugs were discovered after Bureau of Customs, National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency allowed a shipment from Thailand to be delivered from Port of Subic in Zambales.

Authorities then tracked the shipment down to the warehouse where it was delivered.

The warehouse was in Mexico town and it was owned by Ong.

According to the House committee, Ong was invited but he did not show up.

The panel held the hearing after two high-profile drug busts were conducted just one month apart.

The first operation yielded the discovery of crystal methamphetamine or shabu worth P1.3 billion in an abandoned car in Mabalacat city, Pampanga on August 25.

The second operation was the seizure of around P3.6 billion worth of shabu from the Mexico warehouse on September 27.

According to the joint House resolution that prompted the probe, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla believes foreign illegal drug traders may already be working with local government officials.

The resolution was filed by Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio Gonzales, along with committee chair and Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers.

Due to the fears expressed by Remulla, Pimentel asked the committee to clarify which parcel of land was used to build the warehouse, as it might reveal links to local officials.

Afterwards, the lawmaker also directly asked Tumang whether or not he knew if Ong was involved in the drug trade.

“Mayor, not that I want to implicate, but when the building was constructed, when the transactions happened, when there were discussions with Mr. Willy Ong, you were there,” Pimentel told Tumang.

“Are you aware that Mr. Willy Ong is involved in any drug dealing?” Pimentel grilled Tumang.

“No, I’m not po,” Tumang answered.

“I would like to request this committee to verify whether the warehouse sits on the land bought from (the brother of) Mayor Tumang,” Pimentel requested.

“Because according to him, he doesn’t know eh,” he explained.

“But it is very clear that Mr. Willy Ong — we have established already — bought a lot from the brother of Mayor Tumang,” the lawmaker pointed out.

“So we really have to establish kung… if Empire building was on that land, so that we will know if the local officials might be involved in this transaction,” Pimentel emphasized.

This is neither the first time that Tumang appeared before a House panel nor that the former mayor was questioned by Pimentel.

At the House committee on public accounts, it was Pimentel who issued a subpoena ad testificandum (to testify) against Tumang.

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Surigao del Sur Second District Representative Johnny Pimentel (File photo from his Facebook account)

The order was due to the former Mexico mayor’s failure to attend the hearings of the panel on the municipality’s alleged anomalous transactions.

The hearings late July to early August were set, after a private citizen asked Congress to look into the transactions flagged by Commission on Audit.

The citizen had questioned why Ombudsman had not addressed the issue.

During that time, Tumang was still the incumbent local chief executive.

He was dismissed from his post after Ombudsman found him and three other municipal officials guilty of offenses involving anomalous purchases of construction materials.


P3.6-B worth of shabu seized in Pampanga warehouse

Ombudsman orders dismissal of Pampanga town mayor, 3 others for anomalous purchases 

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TAGS: Drug Trade, Mexico, Pampanga, Teddy Tumang, Willy Ong

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