MILITARY intelligence operative Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino is taking former President Benigno Aquino 3rd to task over what he knew about the extent of “narco-politics” in the country during his administration.
Marcelino has executed an affidavit on his knowledge of the illegal drug trade as a former official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), but was barred from speaking before the House justice committee on Thursday, with lawmakers claiming his testimony was not relevant to the inquiry.
What the lawmakers didn’t hear was Marcelino’s account of his discovery and dismantling of a clandestine shabu laboratory in Camiling, Tarlac in 2014, which he claims was the largest ever dismantled, with P3 billion in equipment and drugs seized.
In his six-page sworn affidavit dated September 25, a copy of which was obtained by The Manila Times, Marcelino wondered whether Aquino knew of the shabu laboratory in Tarlac, the former president’s home province.
He also pointed out that former PDEA chief Arturo Cacdac had served as Tarlac provincial police director.
“Is it possible that the syndicates already penetrated the highest political leadership in the country? Or do they simply want to embarrass our government when it will eventually be discovered?” he added.
He said the 2014 Tarlac operation was part of a special counter-intelligence project called “Enchanted Link,” tasked to gather information on illegal drug operations in the country.
While conducting a surveillance operation at the condo building on January 20, 2016, Marcelino said he and his “action agent” were nabbed by PDEA men and made to appear as drug suspects.
Marcelino was arrested in that operation and was detained at the PNP Custodial Center, where he said he was visited by de Lima at one time.
Marcelino said that during the visit, he and de Lima discussed the raid in Tarlac and the possibility of drug syndicates having influence over the national leadership.
Marcelino claimed de Lima immediately told him: “I can assure you the President is not involved.”
“I was stunned when she mentioned the president, when I did not state his name nor alluded to him at that time,” Marcelino said.
The Manila Times tried to reach the camps of former president Aquino and de Lima, but to no avail.
De Lima had claimed that Marcelino was being forced to testify against her, which the latter denied.
The DOJ earlier dropped drug charges against Marcelino but reversed itself in September.