MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Jose Gutierrez on Wednesday denied extorting P8 million from an arrested drug dealer.
Gutierrez was reacting to an accusation of sacked PDEA deputy director general Carlos Gadapan, who claimed that Gutierrez and several PDEA agents extorted money from arrested Chinese Mark Tan.
"Hindi totoo iyan. Alam niyo kapag malalaking tao ang nahuhuli kung anu-anong reason ang lumalabas. Binabalikan ka lang," Gutierrez told dzMM.
"Sa una pa lang, kung kikikilan mo yan, hindi mo pa-file-an ng kaso itong taong ito. Ito yata iyung nakakulong pa hanggang ngayon. Hindi pwedeng makuhanan mo ng ganyang kalaki pagkatapos kulong pa siya. Merong quid pro quo yan eh," he added.
In several interviews, Gadapan said Gutierrez needed money to pay for the debts of his wife who allegedly has a gambling problem. He said he has witnesses who could prove that Mrs. Gutierrez frequented the Tropicana Club in Santa Mesa.
Asked about his wife's supposed gambling addiction, Gutierrez said: "The issue is something personal, pero iyan pa rin ay patutunayan ko. Malalaman natin. Mabuti at inamin niya (Gadapan) na sa kanya nanggaling. Mayroong lumabas na dalawa, tatlong blind item. Hindi ko na lang kinikibo. Ngayon, inamin niya, then it is my move now."
He told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda that his wife is not a compulsive gambler but admitted that she sometimes goes to casinos along with members of the Ladies Club.
He also said his wife borrowed money for a business venture, and not because of gambling.
He also denied that he extorted money from a drug lord.
Gadapan ready to prove claims
In his interview, Gadapan said he is ready to prove the supposed involvement of Gutierrez and several PDEA officers in anomalous practices.
Gadapan said the sting operation against Tan last July 18 was carried out through the orders of Gutierrez, since some of his functions were clipped last July 1.
"Since July 1 wala na akong authority to sign mga pre-ops, tsaka mga coordination. Being the deputy for operations ako po ang nagsa-sign niyan. Usually the targets are foreigners. Tinanggal po iyon ni DG (director general), siya na ang nagsa-sign. So iyang insidente nangyari ng July 18. Therefore, who gave the authority?" he said.
Asked to detail how Gutierrez got the supposed P8 million, Gadapan refused to answer so as not to pre-empt the Senate investigation on Monday called for by Sen. Tito Sotto.
Gadapan said he has concrete evidence to prove that Gutierrez's wife is stuck in debt, and has resorted to issuing fake cheques already amounting to P10 million to her debtors.
He claimed that Mrs. Gutierrez once tried to borrow P300,000 from him.
"Minsan sasabihin niya, 'E may pondo ka naman d'yan e,'" he said.
"'Yun mahirap kay sir e. Hindi niya matanggap na 'yung asawa niya po ay compulsive na sa gambling. Matagal ko na pong sinasabi niya."