Maguindanao killers high on drugs

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — MOST of the gunmen who massacred 57 people including women and journalists in Maguindanao last November 13 were high on drugs, officials said.

“Obviously, that massacre could not have been perpetrated by persons in their right minds. Only drugged individuals could do such bestiality,” said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chair Dionisio R. Santiago.

He made the statement following the recent seizure of at least 16 kilograms of high-grade cocaine worth P112 million in Davao City.

PDEA spokesman Derrick Arnold C. Carreon said their agents are taking the blood and urine samples of the suspects arrested in connection with the massacre for a drug analysis. He confirmed that several suspects tested positive for marijuana abuse although they are also being tested for possible shabu or cocaine use.

Officials investigating the Maguindanao carnage raised the possibility that the killers could have used shabu or cocaine.

“We want to find out if Mayor Ampatuan, Jr. has traces of cocaine in his blood since he was only subjected by the National Bureau of Investigation to a marijuana test,” a ranking police official who requested anonymity said.

The official said they have long suspected that most of the drugs smuggled to Mindanao from Metro Manila were brought to Maguindanao. “Before, there were reports that only marijuana and shabu are being smuggled in Maguindanao. Now, there is the additional report that cocaine is also proliferating in the province,” the source who refused to be named said.

The confiscation of cocaine in Davao City bolstered police suspicions that suspects in the massacre may have used cocaine since Maguindanao is not too far from Davao City.

A report sent to PNP chief Director General Jesus A. Verzosa said four packs containing one kilo each of cocaine were recovered by the Davao City Police inside one of the 40-foot container vans which arrived in the city last Nov. 19.

The vans are consigned to the Maersk Shipping Company, police said. A Maersk technician immediately informed the local police of the presence of the drugs inside the refrigerator compartment of the vans at 9 a.m. last Thursday.

A follow-up operation resulted in the recovery of eight more kilos of the drug inside the reefer machine of another container van, said Davao City police chief Senior Supt. Ramon Apolinario.

The PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force headed by Deputy Director General Jefferson P. Soriano has launched a thorough investigation into the recovery of the cocaine in Davao City.