By Jennifer P. Rendon
Two brothers and their cousins were arrested in a police anti-illegal drug operation late evening of Oct. 16 in Molo, Iloilo City.
Arrested were Jack Rubino, 29, the main target of the drug operation, and his older brother Mark Rubino, 31; and their cousins Cris Baterna, 42, and Junjun Mariano, 51. All are residents of Zone 6, Barangay Boulevard, Molo, the area where the drug buy-bust was conducted.
Members of the Iloilo City Police Office-City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU), together with the Iloilo City Police Station 4, led the operation against the suspects who allegedly connived in selling a sachet of suspected shabu for P12,000.
Police operatives also recovered 13 more sachets of suspected shabu and several non-drug items from the suspects.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez Jr., CDEU chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 65 grams and had an estimated standard drug price of P442,000.
Benitez said that Jack was the main target of the drug operation.
He and his brother John Mark, a barangay tanod in Boulevard, are considered “high value individuals” (HVIs).
Both were also arrested before for drug-related charges and were released after availing of the plea bargaining agreement.
Baterna, on the other hand, is a suspected thief while Mariano was jailed for a frustrated murder case.
Benitez said they got a lead that Jack was back in the illegal drug trade after several arrested street level pushers pointed to him as their source.
“Following their arrest, a lot of residents were happy. They were afraid of the suspects but couldn’t rat them out to the police. It’s an open secret in their barangay that they’re selling drugs,” he said.
It took three weeks of surveillance operation before they were finally collared.
Benitez said the suspects sourced their supplies from contacts in Luzon and at the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
The four suspects are now detained and will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).