The commander of the 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG) in Palawan has denied allegations they were involved in the disappearance of over 190 cigarette boxes reportedly sneaked into Barangay Inogbong, Bataraza by a smuggler from Malaysia on the eve of March 25.
P/Lt. Col. Ricardo Dalmacia issued the denial after allegations pointed to them as the culprit behind the missing cigarette cartons following their presentation of about 24 boxes, which they were able to confiscate.
Dalmacia claimed that their operation was sparked by a tip from an informant named Ronil Cantor, who claims to be a former media person.
After receiving the tip, he ordered personnel from their Brooke’s Point mobile station to conduct an operation.
While on the way to the area, they intercepted a top down tricycle loaded with smuggled cigarette boxes and with two men aboard.
“Malapit pa lang sa area, nasalubong na nila ang isang top-down din na may sakay na 24 boxes ng sigarilyo, tumawag agad ang mga tao sa kanilang hepe, para mag-ask ng guidance, and they were advised na mag follow-up sila kung saan galing,” Dalmacia stated.
“Eventually, kinuha na nila ang pick up na ginagamit ng informant, kasama ang maritime papunta doon sa aplaya, at doon nabungaran na nga nila ang mga kahon ng sigarilyo na nagkalat doon sa aplaya. Unfortunately, may mga nauna na pala na nag-operate doon,” he added.
Following this, the maritime police returned to their Brooke’s Point station, bringing with them the 24 cigarette boxes, the top-down trike, and the two arrested men, Hasanal Asgale Siradji, 28, and Almodzrin Asgale Dela Gente, 30, both residents of Inogbong.
The over 190 smuggled cigarette boxes are still missing as of this writing.
Cantor, on the other hand, said they were turned over to the Bataraza MPS.
“Noong time na nag-operation kami, ang sasakyan nila nasira, ang gusto nilang mangyari ay tutulong kami sa pagkuha ng mga smuggled na sigarilyo para ilagay doon sa police station ng Bataraza. Pero, hindi kasi ako pumayag, kaya ang sabi ko, sige hanggang dito pa ako hakutin niyo na ‘yan tapos magbaba na din kayo ng papel na pipirmahan ko as witness kung ilan lahat ang na-confiscate dito sa Inogbong” Cantor told Palawan News.
Bataraza MPS, however, denied Cantor’s claim, explaining they are already conducting an investigation.
Dalmacia also maintained that they confiscated only 24 boxes from the top-down tricycle while on their way to Inogbong for their supposed anti-smuggling operation.
Meanwhile, Palawan News spoke with one of the contrabands’ owners, who revealed that on March 25, roughly 220 boxes were dumped on the shores of Inogbong, 100 of which belonged to her.
The smuggler also said she only recovered around 64 boxes that were loaded to a Rusco muticab, a motorcycle, and two top-down tricycles which were later transported to an undisclosed location.
He added that Cantor’s vehicle was also loaded with cigarette boxes.
“Ang isang tricycle nakalusot, ang isa ‘yun ang naharang ng maritime sa kalsada. Ang naiwan na lang po doon sa aplaya ay ang van at ang Rusco, at saka yung sasakyan ni Cantor, yun ang sabi ng mga kargador sa area,” she said.
“Ang van at Rusco, may mga laman na. Hindi na po namin nabilang ang laman, tapos kinabukasan iniwan namin doon sa bahay na tinaguan namin. Pag-check namin doon kaunti na lang, ang dami ng nabawas. 64 na lang ang naiwan, hindi na namin alam kung sino ang may kagagawan, kung sinu-sino po ang kumuha ng sigarilyo,” she added.