MANILA — A "drug queen" who allegedly buys and redistributes illegal drugs seized by lawmen invested large sums of money to foster government connections, even giving away cars to police officers, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency claimed Thursday.
Guia Gomez Castro, a former barangay chairwoman in Sampaloc, Manila, was first arrested in 2001 for alleged possession of a kilo of drugs, but the case against her was dismissed, allowing her to expand her alleged narcotics network, said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
PDEA, he said, has identified 17 drug distributors working for Castro, who allegedly releases 2 to 3 kilos of drugs in Manila alone.
Castro enjoys the protection of some "high-ranking officials" and policemen, said Aquino.
"Talagang nag-invest siya ng malaking pera para magkaroon siya ng tamang connections sa gobyerno, tamang connections sa law enforcement agencies," he told radio DZMM.
(She really invested a lot of money to have right connections to the government and law enforcement agencies.)
For example, Castro allegedly doled out brand new cars during a birthday party, he said.
"Hindi na pinara-raffle — pinamimigay. Mayroon siyang mga awtomatikong taong alam, iyong kaniyang mga kumbaga lieutenant saka mga madidikit na tao. Pati itong mga ninja cops na ito na-involve, nadikit sa kaniya, nagkaroon ng bagong Fortuner ito noong nagkaroon siya ng isang malaking birthday party," he said.
(These are not raffled but given automatically to some people like her so-called lieutenants and those close to her. Even the ninja cops connected to her got new Fortuners when she threw a big birthday party once.)
Of 16 "ninja policemen" who are allegedly in cahoots with the drug queen, 9 were killed in separate operations and one is detained, Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar earlier said.
The police is building cases against 6 of her other cohorts, including 2 retired policemen, 2 who were dismissed from service and 2 other who went on absence without leave, he added.
Aquino, however, said it was easy for Castro to hire new protectors and distributors.
"Just as long as may pera ka pa rin, madaling palitan ang tao e... Ganoon din iyong mga pulis na nag-AWOL, mga pulis nanamatay e pinapalitan n'ya rin. May mga bagong mukha, may mga bagong tao, distributor na nagagamit niya sa kaniyang negosyo," he said.
(Just as long as you have money, your people can be replaced easily. The same is true for policemen who went AWOL or were killed. She replaced them. There are new faces, new underlings, distributors that she uses for her business.)
Castro flew to Bangkok, Thailand last Saturday, according to Bureau of Immigration records. Her relatives and co-workers have denied the allegations against her.