Ex-PDEA 7 chief suspended over gun duel challenge

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Monday, August 25, 2014

FOR threatening a radio reporter during a phone interview, former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 director Esperidion Javier was suspended for six months and one day without pay.

The agency’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) found the official guilty of administrative case for simple misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service for challenging radio dySS reporter and Sun.Star Superbalita correspondent Guamittos Logroño to a duel last year.

PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. approved the decision, dated Aug. 15, against Javier, who was then PDEA 7 chief at the time of the incident.


First offense

IAS did not give Javier a graver penalty because it was his first offense and he acknowledged he apologized even though he insisted he was misquoted by Logroño.

Logroño said he was happy with the decision.

“I hope this serves as a lesson to them. We in the media industry should not be threatened because we are only looking for the truth,” he said in Cebuano.

Sun.Star Cebu sent a text message and called Javier, to no avail.

In his counter-affidavit, Javier denied threatening Logroño when the latter interviewed him about the allegation that PDEA agents raided a house in Cebu City without a search warrant last Nov. 21.

Logroño wrote about the raid and his article was published in Superbalita last Nov. 25.

Two days later, he interviewed Javier to get the latter’s reaction about the incident.

Logroño, in his complaint, recalled Javier telling him: “Ano ba talaga, magkaibigan tayo o hindi? Anong gusto mo, draw tayo? Magbarilan na lang tayo? Anything under the sun? Ikaw kung gusto mo, pumunta ka dito magdiskasyon tayo buong araw (Are we friends or not? Do you want a shootout? Or if you want, you can come here and we can discuss this all day).”

Javier later told his colleagues in the police beat about what happened. He feared for his life, since he knew Javier is a former marine.

Defense PNP Press Corps (DEPP) president Chito Aragon and vice president Arnold Bustamante and other reporters accompanied Logroño to Javier’s office.

Javier’s defense

The official, with his firearm tucked in his waistband, allegedly asked in a loud voice, “Where is Super Guam Logroño?”

The reporter said he was forced to file a complaint against Javier because the latter’s act made him fear for his life and for his family’s safety.

For his part, Javier said he was misquoted by Logroño.

“Verily, I did not utter those statements to threaten or challenge complainant to a gun duel but to impress upon him that I will come to the rescue of anyone, friends or fore, who will seek my protection and that I am willing to shoot it out with the bullies. That is I meant when I said ‘Makipagbarilan,’” he said.

On the day he met the reporters belonging to DEPP, he was in uniform and armed because his team was about to leave for an operation.

Logroño, he said, “misunderstood my appearance and actions as something else. He thought I was out to do him harm.”

IAS, however, was not persuaded by Javier’s defense, saying the meaning that Javier gave to the words he used was “immaterial.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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