Naga OBO worker faces charges; he’s not my bodyguard: Chiong

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

THE Office of the City Prosecutor in Naga filed yesterday a string of criminal cases against an employee of the Office of the Building Official (OBO) in the city and three others for drug violations.

This, as City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong denied the employee is one of his bodyguards.

However, Chiong admitted that suspect Ricardo Cantillas is working for the Naga City Hall, under OBO.


In an interview yesterday, Chiong said he had known Cantillas as one of the city administration’s supporters.

Chiong even helped Cantillas start his business. Cantillas has a barbecue stand near the Naga City Baywalk area.

“It has always been my principle in giving people second chances in life by supporting them with their endeavors,” said Chiong.

But Chiong denied he has any knowledge of Cantillas’ alleged illegal activities.

The City’s Acting Prosecutor Napoleon Alburo filed the criminal cases for possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia against Zosimo Abaquita and Ricardo Cantillas, City of Naga OBO personnel, before the Regional Trial Court. No bail was recommended.

Firearms regulation

A separate case for violation of RA 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, was filed against Cantillas.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 seized from Cantillas a 9 mm pistol with eight bullets during the anti-drugs operation on Jan.17.

Government prosecutors also charged sisters Arnette Sarusal and Ariel Sarusal, who were also caught by agents while allegedly sniffing shabu.

The siblings denied using illegal drugs inside the house of Abaquita.

The NBI 7 operatives, led by supervising agent Rennan Oliva, brought the accused to the Palace of Justice for the issuance of the commitment order. The accused refused media interviews.

Cantillas is allegedly the supplier of illegal drugs to Abaquita, according to the NBI agents’ joint affidavit of arrest.

Abaquita earlier complained against the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) storage facility that Petronas Energy Philippines Inc. built near his house in Sitio Mohon, Barangay Langtad.

Drug den

He accused the company of violating Republic Act 9514, or the Fire Code of the Philippines 2008.

Oliva alleged that Abaquita’s house is a drug den where drug users sniff shabu.

Seized from Abaquita were 20 pieces of glass tooters, eight medium-sized packets of shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia and five marked P100 bills.

Interviewed earlier inside their detention cell, Abaquita admitted he sells illegal drugs in small quantity.

He never sell huge amounts, he said, adding that he can disposed of 1.8 grams of shabu, worth P2,800, in three days.

Cantillas denied he is a drug pusher, but admitted he is a user. He said he went to Abaquita’s house after the latter told him that there was a girl coming to meet him.

Cantillas, an OBO field inspector, was in uniform when he was caught. He admitted he sniffed shabu.

During his arrest, Cantillas allegedly resisted and even tried to pull out his loaded gun. But he was subdued by the agents.

His vehicle was searched and the agents found sachets with traces of shabu, unused plastic packs, needle, tooter, a small notebook containing lists of debts and payments involving drug transactions.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2014.

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