From slums to motels
Cebu Daily News Philippines
By: Nestle L. Semilla, Norman V. Mendoza
22 January 2017
and paraphernalia seized from inside the room of a motel in Mandaue
City that was occupied by alleged drug dealer Francis Omolon are
displayed atop the room’s bed for photo documentation purposes. (CDN
Photo Norman Mendoza)
Drug dens or “shabu tiangge” are apparently no longer just confined in
congested slum-like areas but can now be found in places like motels,
hotels, pension houses and condominium units.
The Mandaue City police has earlier suspected that drug pushers have
found more posh private places to peddle their drugs, but they found no
solid evidence of this new kind of shabu tiangge until yesterday.
Anti-drug operatives raided a motel based in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue
City and found out that five adjoining rooms were being used as drug
dens. From these rooms, the operatives seized some P700,000 worth of
shabu and a firearm.
The raid also led to the arrest of nine persons—three suspected drug
dealers and seven alleged drug users, all of whom are females who
included a 15-year-old. A young man, reportedly an applicant for the
police force, eluded arrest.
Conducting illegal drug trade inside hotels, motels, pension houses and
condominiums has now become a trend for drug groups, affirmed Yogi
Filemon Ruiz, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in
Central Visayas (PDEA-7).
elude police detection since they now have no permanent
Ruiz said while this might not be a new strategy, many pushers now
adapt and prefer this kind of style of peddling drugs to ensure their
privacy and to elude police detection since they now have no permanent
Ruiz admitted they now have difficulty in tracing and apprehending drug
syndicates and individual drug dealers that conduct their illegal trade
in these kinds of places.
Alanas said they started an intensive surveillance operations on
motels, hotels and pension houses in the city after they were alerted
that drug pushers have started using these establishments to peddle
The six persons arrested in the different rooms inside the motel were
all women in their early 20s, who claimed to be residents of either
Mandaue City or Lapu-Lapu City, except for a 15-year-old girl from
One of the arrested women admitted she went to the motel to avail of
the shabu offered by Villanueva while three others claimed they were
there as commercial sex workers hired by Cabahug, with a promised fee
The rest claimed they were mere companions of the other women.
The police have meanwhile asked the guardian of the minor to appear
before the MCPO and bring proof that she is a minor before she will be
turned over to the city’s social welfare office.
Veraque said they placed the motel under surveillance after they were
alerted by the motel’s management that the three men had been regularly
renting multiple rooms since early this month.
Police also seized a .45 caliber pistol with six live ammunition from Villanueva aside from illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
The seized items included 60 grams of shabu valued at around P700,000;
drug paraphernalia, drug repacking materials, weighing scale, butane
torch and P7,500 cash believed to be proceeds of the illegal drugs.
including a minor, arrested inside several rooms of a motel in Mandaue
City allegedly used as a shabu tiangge or drug dens are now detained at
the Subangdaku Police Station in Mandaue City. (CDN
Photo Norman Mendoza)
Ruiz, meanwhile, urged hotel managements to be more helpful with their anti-drug operations.
“The hotels should cooperate because we are not against them. Our
operations will help their business. Who will like an illegal activity
in their establishment?” said Ruiz in Filipino.
Ruiz said that right now, they only investigate hotels or motels that have been subject of illegal activities more than twice.
Ruiz said they had known for a while now that many criminal gangs,
including those engaged in the illegal drug trade, have found it most
convenient to operate inside hotels to maintain their anonymity and
In the case of motels, for example, criminals can easily get in and out
of their rooms since they have private entrance and exits and their own
garages to park their vehicles.
In the past three months, the police and PDEA-7 managed to seize P45.7
million worth of drugs in buy-bust operations conducted in hotels,
pension houses and condominiums.
In October 2016, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in
Central Visayas (CIDG-7) confiscated at least 150 grams of shabu worth
P1.7 million and arrested two persons during a buy-bust operation
inside a hotel room in General Maxilom Ave. Cebu City.
In November, also last year, PDEA-7 arrested a 28-year-old woman and
seized shabu worth P32 million in a drug bust inside her condominium
unit in Sitio Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
Last month, PDEA-7 also seized a P12-million worth of shabu inside a
pension house from an alleged big-time drug operator who supplies drugs
in Carcar City and its neighboring towns.
the possibilty of training condo security guards
Ruiz said they were now mulling the possibility of training security
guards of hotels, motels, condominiums and pension houses as “force
multipliers” of the agency.
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