Casinos used to launder drug money: Gadapan

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Sep 21 2012 04:43 PM | Updated as of Sep 22 2012 12:49 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy director general for operations Carlos Gadapan on Friday defended his visit to a casino following his revelation that his former boss' wife was a gambling addict.

Gadapan said his visit to the casino was part of a legitimate surveillance operation he conducted when he was still with PDEA.

He said the purpose of the visit was to monitor the alleged money laundering operations of drug syndicates in casinos.

"Being the deputy general for operations, I have to step up the strategy. Parang kabute na nagsusulputan ang mga casino sa atin. This is very alarming considering na magiging entertainment area na tayo," Gadapan told radio dzMM.

Gadapan, who believes he was kicked out of PDEA due to his knowledge of PDEA chief Jose Gutierrez's wife's gambling problems, said casinos have become a convenient site for drug syndicates to get rid of "dirty money."

"Kapag may cash kayo, say for example P2 million cash, papalitan mo ng chips, e 'di naging chips na, maski hindi niyo ilaro iyon… magkakaroon ka ng ebidensya na ang cash na iyon ay galing sa casino. Ang assumption ay galing sa casino. Nawa-wash ang dirty money dito sa ganyang proseso," he explained.

Gadapan also said there are indications that the operations of the infamous Mexican drug cartels have reached the Philippines. He said PDEA must step up its game in order to catch the big fish in the illegal drugs business.

"Kailangan ng dynamic, highly motivated, visionary, at leader na palaban at hindi patumpik-tumpik na haharap sa mga sindikato na ito," he said.

Senate probe, threats to life

Gutierrez's wife, Estrella, earlier said she is preparing a libel case against Gadapan for saying that she has a gambling problem, and insinuating that she had used some PDEA funds to sustain her vice.

Gadapan, for his part, said he will soon come up with people who will prove Mrs. Gutierrez's misdeeds. He added he is ready to counter any accusation from the PDEA chief's wife.

The former PDEA deputy chief said he will face the Senate on Monday after Senator Vicente Sotto III called for an investigation into his dismissal.

Gadapan also admitted that he now fears for his family's security after his exposé.

"Noong isang gabi, may nakita akong aali-aligid dito sa bahay pero hindi ko naman alam kung ano yung purpose. Paiba-iba na po ako ng lugar… Bilang isang law enforcer, talagang kaakibat na po iyang mga bagay-bagay na iyan. I'm making sure lang po yung family ko [ay nasa ligtas na kalagayan]," he said.