City Hall job hire falls in drug sting

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A job hire of the Iloilo City government was arrested in a police anti-narcotics operation early morning of April 12, 2023 in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Stewart Macatual, 38, a personnel of the Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST), was arrested at Barangay San Isidro, Jaro.

Members of the Iloilo City Police Station 3 collared Macatual after selling a sachet of suspected shabu for P15,000.

Macatual, a resident of Barangay Rizal, Lapuz district, also yielded seven more sachets of suspected shabu, a motorcycle, and a mobile phone.

Captain Lester Oliveros, Jaro police chief, said the seized drugs weighed around 17 grams and has a standard drug price value of P115,600.

Oliveros said they placed the suspect under surveillance for about a month.

It appeared that Macatual also sourced his shabu supply through his connection at the New Bilibid Prison.

The shabu supply was allegedly dropped off at a designated area. Macatual will be later informed where he could pick it up.

The suspect is now detained and will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

This is not the first time that a job hire of the Iloilo City government was busted for illegal drugs.

This prompted Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to require job hires to submit a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and a negative drug test result.

The pronouncement was made in March 2021 but after that, several job hires were still implicated in the illegal drug trade.

Last year, a job hire and his friend were also arrested in a police anti-narcotics operation where P1.36 million worth of illegal drugs was seized.