On the evening of January 8, 2013, operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) of region 10 which is based in Cagayan de Oro City arrested Geodeguil Ursal , 33 years old, a board member of the province of Misamis Oriental during a buy-and- bust operation. Also arrested were Ernesto Fernandez, 46 years old and Glenn Antigua, 29 years old. Taken from the possession of the suspects in the red Toyota Vios were drug paraphernalia; 14 sachets of methamphetamine hydrochloride which is locally known as shabu, a drug which stimulates the nervous system and reduces food appetite, and two thousand pesos “marked money” which the agent disguised as a buyer used to pay for the drugs from the suspects.
Ursal is now under detention in the PDEA cell for further investigation. A case has been filed against him and his companions for substance abuse, illegal possession of prohibited drugs and paraphernalia and illegal drug sale. Ursal along with Antigua were tested positive of the use of the drug. Laboratory test on Fernandez yielded negative result. Illegal drug possession and selling is a non- bailable crime in the Philippines.
During the investigation Ursal admitted to Roberto Opeña, the Regional Director of PDEA Region 10, that he has been using and selling drugs and that for December 2012 he sold two million pesos worth of shabu. Opeña said that Ursal have sold about 30 million pesos worth of shabu for the year 2012. He added that Ursal is a big personality in illegal drug business in his hometown in Gingo-og City, Misamis Oriental and that he gets his supply of shabu from Cebu City.
According to Opeña the arrest of Ursal was the result of a year-long intelligence operations on his illegal drug activities. Until his arrest Ursal was the number 2 man in the agency’s watch list of person involved in illegal drugs. Opeña said that Ursal was illusive and could not be easily caught and arrested. It is said that lately Ursal has been missing provincial board sessions because he devoted much time for his illegal drug related activities.
Ursal was a member of the Padayon Pilipino, the dominant local political party of Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro, when he ran for an elective office and won. However, during the filing of certificate of candidacy for the mid-term election he was not included in the list of that party’s candidates which made him run as independent.
Opeña theorized that narco politics is coming into play since election time is drawing near and that the money on drugs might be used to fund the election campaigns of some politicians. He believes that some politicians of Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental might be involved in activities involving illegal drugs.
The arrest and the filing of charges against Geodeguil Ursal, a young member of the provincial board is appalling considering that as a politician and public official he should serve as a model for the people especially the youths to follow. But on the contrary he set himself as a bad example of what a public official should be. Illegal drugs can destroy the fabric of a society. They can cause people who use them to commit crimes or do other horrendous acts. They are even worse when the ones victimized are the youths because their future will be adversely affected. How could the people of the first district of Misamis Oriental be so wrong and so naïve to have elected an official who is an illegal drug user and pusher?
Credit should be given to Regional Director Roberto Opeña and the PDEA personnel responsible for the arrest and filing of charges against the suspects in court. They should be highly commended for a job that is well done. The people of Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental should give their all out support to that agency to identify and to put behind bars people who engage in illegal drugs activities no matter what their positions in the government or status in the society are.