Drugs sold in 5 Cebu nightclubs | Inquirer News

Drugs sold in 5 Cebu nightclubs

WE’LL JUST WAIT FOR THE RIGHT TIME Yogi Filemon Ruiz Director, PDEA Central Visayas, on making drug arrests in clubs

CEBU CITY — Antinarcotics agents had taken photos and videos of drug transactions in at least five clubs in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue, including Liv Super Club, which was owned by a Chinese businessman being linked to a P6.4-billion drug shipment that made it past the Customs bureau in Manila.

But Yogi Filemon Ruiz, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Visayas, said PDEA agents refrained from conducting arrests in the clubs to avoid hitting patrons in the crossfire that could ensue should arrests lead to gunfights between drug peddlers and PDEA agents.


Ruiz identified only Liv Super Club as one of the clubs. He begged off from identifying the four others so as not to jeopardize ongoing investigations.


Ruiz on Thursday showed reporters photos and videos taken by undercover agents inside the five clubs.

They showed drug peddlers handing over packs of “shabu” (crystal meth) or ecstasy to buyers inside the clubs.

But Ruiz said the PDEA agents chose not to arrest the drug suspects inside the establishment as the suspects might engage the law enforcers in a gunfight and lead to casualties among club goers.

“We’ll just wait for the right time,” he said in an interview.

Smuggling link

One of the owners of Liv, Kenneth Dong, had been tagged in the ongoing Senate investigation of a shipment of P6.4 billion of shabu that made it past the Customs bureau and seized in a warehouse later.

But an official of Liv, Benray Conti, said the other owners and other officials of the club were surprised at reports that Dong was involved in the drug trade.


“As far as we are concerned, our dealings with him as a co-owner of Liv are all legitimate,” said Conti, operations manager of Liv, in a statement.

“However, we do not condone whatever wrongdoing he might be liable for under the law,” Conti added.

He said the club “welcomes any investigation and we will cooperate with any inquiry.”

Liv, Conti said, fully supports President Duterte’s war on drugs. He said Liv owners had coordinated with PDEA “to reinforce our efforts to make sure our establishment remains drug-free.”

Ruiz said the involvement of the club owners in the drug trade was a remote possibility, however, since the owners “were the ones who requested PDEA for assistance in order not to put their establishments in a bad light.”

“They are cooperative,” said Ruiz of the club owners.


The Mandaue City government recently ordered Liv Super Club to settle unpaid amusement tax amounting to at least P1 million. Failure would lead to the club’s closure, the city government said.

The city government, however, said the club had a business permit. “We appreciate the clarification made by Mandaue city hall that Liv has indeed a valid business permit,” Conti said.

On Wednesday, a team from the Mandaue City government, police, fire department and treasurer’s office inspected Liv.
The team had not found anything illegal.

Ruiz said the PDEA continued to conduct surveillance operations in clubs in Mandaue and Cebu cities to pin down persons supplying drugs to clients there.

“These drug peddlers usually stay in places where there are prospective buyers,” Ruiz said.

“I warn them to stop what they are doing or they will be subjected to an operation,” he said.

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Ruiz also appealed to club owners to monitor activities inside their establishments or face suits.

TAGS: Kenneth Dong, PDEA, war on drugs, Yogi Filemon Ruiz

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