Buying herbal ‘drugs’? Use passwords

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 11:00 PM August 24, 2011

The police commander of Sta. Cruz district recently made a startling discovery.

In a meeting with herbal medicine vendors in the vicinity of Quiapo church, they told him they use passwords for selling the abortifacient pill “Cytotec.”


“They say ‘Alis ka (Go away),’ with certain hand movements,” implying a method of abortion, Police Superintendent James Afalla told the Inquirer.

This was only one of the “passwords” used by those involved in the illegal trade whose presence in the area has raised objections from church leaders of the neighboring Quiapo parish.


On Tuesday, Afalla met with vendors operating in the area.

Though they did not admit selling abortifacients, they were able to describe the modus operandi of those who did. Afalla said some of those he talked to would act as “fixers” between the vendors and the customers.

On the surface, the vendors sell religious items and herbal medicines, but would sell abortifacients secretly, Afalla said.

“I asked them to shift to legitimate goods like clothes instead of using Sto. Niño statues as fronts,” Afalla said.

He said the vendors’ leaders promised to stop selling the illegal drugs.

Afalla said he would seek a dialogue between the vendors and church officials soon.

A police task group dealing with putting an end to the Cytotec trade continues to monitor the area.


No apprehensions have been made to date.

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TAGS: abortifacient, Crime, Cytotec, Philippine - metro
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