MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has filed charges against the owners of the property used as a clandestine drug laboratory in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, the agency said Tuesday, February 21.
PDEA has charged Fuerte Holdings Inc, as well as the administrators of the Madrigal properties, for alleged violations of the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to the foiled drug laboratory at 504 Acacia Ave, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City on January 6.
PDEA has identified Fuerte Holdings as having rented out the house-turned-drug laboratory.
Fuerte Holdings officers as well as their estate administrators are responsible for ensuring that their property “is not being utilized for illegal purposes,” said PDEA director general Undersecretary Jose Gutierrez Jr in reference to one of the biggest shabu laboratories that PDEA has foiled so far.
“The negligence on their part to inspect the said property tolerated the commission of the crime, in this case the manufacture of shabu,” said PDEA director general Usec Jose Gutierrez Jr in a statement.
Rappler has tried but failed to reach Fuerte Holdings as of posting time.
Gutierrez said the case should be an eye-opener to owners and administrators “to be vigilant and very wary of people who plan to lease and rent their property.”
In a forum in January, the Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) said it is exploring measures to prevent drug traffickers from transforming properties within the village into drug laboratories.
For one, the association is considering the required inspection of tenants’ homes, said AAVA governor Chito Limcaoco.
For his part, PDEA National Capital Region director Pedrito Magsino said the owner’s right to inspect a tenant’s home twice or thrice a month should be incorporated in a property’s lease contract. He said those who conduct inspections should watch out for telltale signs of chemical laboratories, which include the following:
- Abrupt changes in the surroundings, with grasses, shrubs, and trees drying up and eventually dying
- A foul smell that is noticeable to an ordinary person
During the forum, Ayala Alabang officials also suggested the following safety measures:
- Know your neighbor
- Be vigilant; observe and report unusual odors or movements, if any
- Document events and observations when in doubt
- Participate in Village Watch meetings
The Philippines, in general, continues to face a huge problem with shabu. It remains in fact to be the substance of choice by Filipino illegal drug users, based on the World Drug Report 2011 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The report said that among Filipino illegal drug users treated in 2009 or the latest year available, 59 percent used shabu as their primary drug of abuse. – Rappler.com