BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has dangled anew a P100,000 reward for each of the 11 bricks of cocaine that have remained missing since the discovery of a large haul of 24 high-grade cocaine bricks with an estimated worth of P144 million secretly stuffed in a reefer van in a banana-loading wharf in Davao City.
I need a Judas to squeal on those who have them, said Duterte in his television program Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa on ABS/CBN-Davao on Sunday, March 30.
Authorities led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) remains in the hunt of those in possession of the missing bricks, part of a haul found on a Maersk refrigerated van at the wharf in Tibungco of Sumifro, a Japanese Cavendish banana exporter.
Authorities have established that there were 64 slots for the cocaine bricks in the reefer van. After the recovery of the 24 bricks, and following Duterte’s announcement that no charges would be filed against those who have them, 29 of the bricks have since been returned or recovered in several locations inside the port, with 11 bricks still missing.
The cocaine haul of one-kilo bricks were found by Sumifro port workers while the van was being prepared for loading with bananas. The company then reported the find, stuffed in hidden slots at the upper inside part of the van, to authorities.
However, authorities found several bricks in the slots missing, indicating that they were filched before the authorities arrived at the scene.
Eleven bricks remain missing with port workers returning some after Duterte said there would be no charges filed for as long as the bricks are returned.
With eleven bricks still missing, a week after the haul was found, Duterte had offered a P100,000 reward for tipster who can provide information on those who are in possession of the missing drugs.
In the ABS/CBN program hosted by lawyer-journalist Geraldine Tiu, Duterte said tipsters, who will remain anonymous, will get the bounty if the bricks are recovered based on their information.
Duterte said tipsters may send the information through text message to him or the police with their identity safeguarded with anonymity.
He warned that those who have them would be facing charges graver than theft.
Those bricks could kill you or will make you rot in jail, said Duterte.
You could be charged with illegal possession of illegal drugs which due to its “sheer quantity,” could send you to a long prison term, said Duterte who was referring to Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.