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11 nabbed in drug bust operation at BGC hotel

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested 11 males in a recent raid on a hotel in Taguig City, seizing at least P387,000 worth of party drugs. 

The operation at Seda Hotel in Bonifacio Global City on Sunday, November 26, led to the arrest of the following:

The raid yielded suspected ecstacy, methamphetamine hydrocloride or “shabu,” and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), also known as “club drug” or “date rape” drug, according to PDEA. 

The suspects charged according to each one’s violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs), Section 26 (Conspiracy to Sell), Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Section 12 (Possession of Drug Paraphernalia), and Section 15 (Use of Dangerous Drugs) of Republic Act 9165,

They are detained at PDEA’s facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.

Meanwhile, advocates for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) called out PDEA for announcing during the press conference Monday night, November 27, that one of the suspects arrested was positive for HIV.

Faustine Angeles Jr, advocate for PLHIV and founder of Pedal HIV, condemned the agency’s irresponsible disclosure of the suspect’s health status, which was aired by at least one news outlet (not Rappler). (READ: Netizens call out media outlet for baring suspects' mugshot, HIV status)

“As a PLHIV I do not tolerate the action of PDEA for stating in their press conference that one of the suspects is positive to HIV,” Faustine said in a statement. 

"Given the fact that the person disclosed his status to them because they found HIV medication with him, they still have no right to disclose his HIV status on national news and ask him to raise his hands [in the press conference]. Their action is against Article VI of Republic Act 8504 (Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998) which is punishable by imprisonment,” he added. 

Faustine said a patient’s HIV status is kept confidential unless he ir she gives full consent to have it disclosed. Disclosing a person’s HIV status unwillingly could possibly harm him/her with “stigma and discrimination.”

"Not all PLHIV's are already out with their status especially to their family. By disclosing their status and putting them to shame due to the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, it will lead to depression. Depression should be taken very seriously as people experiencing it might commit suicide.,” Faustine added.

PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon clarified to Rappler that the agency did not conduct HIV testing during the raid, contrary to news reports. The suspect, Carreon said, revealed his HIV status to explain to a PDEA agent the medication found in his pockets. 

In a text message to Rappler, Carreon also said that they are coordinating with the suspect, and will issue an apology “as appropriate.” – Rappler.com 

Image of hard drugs and alcohol from Shutterstock