Naga City is shabu hotbed in Bicol—PDEA, NBI, NICA

Regional Executives and Directors Association of Bicol with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission
NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – “I agree with the President that Naga is a hotbed of drugs,” PDEA Bicol Regional Director Christian O. Frivaldo told Chairman Dante Jimenez of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission during the Dialogue with the Regional Executives and Directors Association (REDIRAS) Bicol held at Avenue Plaza Hotel on Wednesday.

Jimenez asked Frivaldo point blank to confirm or deny the statement that has stirred Naga City officials and residents this past week.

Frivaldo, however, qualified his answer, saying that Naga City is a hotbed of drugs in Bicol only.

He continued that as per records of their office, at least 21% of all illegal drugs seized in the region come from this city.

“Naga City serves as the distribution point,” Frivaldo said.

The illegal drugs, he added, come from Manila and Region 3, as well as Chinese and African drug syndicates.

They are distributed in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Albay, and Sorsogon, he said.

Seeking further confirmation, Jimenez also asked Regional Director Atty. Tomas B. Enrile of the National Bureau of Investigation the same question.

“I am unanimous with the PDEA. Naga is the hotbed in Bicol, but not in the entire Philippines,” Enrile said.

Jimenez also asked Chief Supt. Lito B. Pitallano, who represented Bicol PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, who was on official travel to Manila.

Pitallano declined to give a categorical answer, because he was only representing Escobal.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Ariel B. Bernardo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) nodded to signify his confirmation of the hotbed tag.

He even added that should other agencies need their support for additional intelligence-gathering, his office would willingly provide it.

Jimenez emphatically stated that he is deeply against the use of illegal drugs because his brother was killed by drug users.

“Sisira yan ng kabataan,” (This will ruin the youth) Jimenez said in Filipino.

It will be recalled that the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Naga City unanimously approved a resolution which expressed indignation against the tagging of Naga City as a hotbed of drugs.

President Duterte’s statement was labeled as “irresponsible” and “without factual basis” in the resolution.

The hotbed tag was “deep insult hurled against the dignity of all Nagueños,” according to the resolution.

For her part, Vice President Leni Robredo branded the tag as a personal attack on her, as she comes from Naga City.