SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez is facing life in prison for illegal transport and possession of narcotics after Pampanga police found a kilo of marijuana in his Ford Mustang on Monday night.
The Angeles City prosecutor’s office ordered the detention of the 37-year-old GMA Network talent, who faced inquest Tuesday afternoon for allegedly violating Sections 5 and 11 of the Dangerous Drugs Act pertaining to the transport and possession of illegal drugs.
Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, the Central Luzon police director, said Angeles City police flagged Fernandez’s yellow Mustang sedan, whose front car plate was missing, at a checkpoint on MacArthur Highway in Barangay Virgen de los Remedios at about 8:30 p.m. on Monday.
Policemen saw an opened dark blue bag with a torn plastic bag containing marijuana at the back seat, authorities said.
At that point, the car sped off toward San Fernando City, leading to a brief car chase. Police shot the vehicle’s tires. Cornered, the driver identified himself as actor Mark Anthony Fernandez.
Also found in Fernandez’s car was a small yellow plastic with marijuana residues and a mechanical grinder for marijuana leaves.
Fernandez tested positive for marijuana use, Aquino said.
The actor bought the marijuana, weighing about one kilo, for P50,000 from a man named “Francis” in Angeles City, the police official added.
Fernandez is unlikely to post bail because of the volume of marijuana found in his possession, and will likely “rot in jail for the rest of his life,” Aquino said.
Fernandez claimed the evidence was planted by police, and denied he was selling narcotics. He admitted to buying marijuana from Francis, claiming he was using it to prevent cancer as suggested by a doctor.
He listed two addresses: 84 Don Rufino Street, Tahanan Village, BF Homes in Parañaque City, Metro Manila and Horizon Condo at Don Juico Street, Clark Air Force City in Angeles City.
Fernandez, the only son of Parañaque politician and former sexy star Alma Moreno and the late action star Rudy Fernandez, is the fourth showbiz personality to be nabbed by police since the Duterte administration’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
Quezon City police arrested former sexy star Sabrina M (Karen Pallasique in real life) on September 25 and Krista Miller (or Kristalyn Engle) last Friday for trading in drugs. Radio disk jockey Karen Bordador was nabbed in Pasig City on Aug. 13.
Fernandez has always been a prodigal son of show business beginning with his rebellious teenage years and history of drug use.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Fernandez went into drug rehabilitation for two-year periods each time, returning to showbiz in between.
On Tuesday, GMA Network released the following statement regarding the actor’s arrest for marijuana possession: “Though Mark Anthony Fernandez has a contract with GMA Network until March 2017, his last project with us ended almost five months ago. We have also reached out to his manager, Dondon Monteverde to ask about Mark.”
The Manila Times sought Monteverde, who responded through a text message: “We are still finding out what really happened. I myself am clueless and have only been reading a lot about this incident on the Internet news and other news networks. Ang daming [There are so many] versions. I will surely let you know updates on this matter when we have really found out what really transpired.”