THE Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) City Intelligence Branch (CIB) arrested five persons in a buy-bust on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, for illegally selling anti-anxiety medicines on Juana Osmeña St., Barangay Kamputhaw.
Police believe the tablets could have been intended for distribution as recreational drugs during the Sinulog.
Nabbed were Al-Sharief Jinulla Sulpicio, 25; Reypie Isarat “Rey” Jabulla, 29; Alhabsal Dayan “EJ” Bantayan, 36; Aljes Julpi “AR” Ambabang; and Al-Cimar Jinulla “RR” Sulpicio, 27.
The five men hail from the Municipality of Jolo, Sulu Province, but have been temporarily residing on Osmeña Blvd., Barangay Sambag 2, Cebu City.
Seized from them were 272 tablets of Valium (Diazepam) and 11 pieces of morphine sulfate pegged at a total value of P42,450.
First marketed as Valium, Diazepam is a medicine that typically produces a calming effect by diminishing hyperactive brain function to relieve severe stress and anxiety.
It is commonly used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, muscle spasms, seizures, sleeping trouble and restless legs syndrome.
Valium is a regulated drug, which means that it cannot be bought over the counter without a licensed physician’s prescription.
The sale of the medicine has been regulated by the government as this could cause addiction and can be abused.
Valium gained popularity in the ‘90s before Methamphetamine, more commonly known as shabu, became widespread.
CCPO-CIB chief Police Major Randy Caballes said they received reports on the five men’s illegal activities.
Caballes suspected that they were trying to sell Valium as a recreational drug in time for the Sinulog festivities.
“That was for Sinulog. When tourists have had a drink or two, they would like to have something to calm them down so they can relax. Most of those who use Valium are foreign tourists,” Caballes said in Cebuano.
Al-Sharief Sulpicio became the target of the buy-bust after his name surfaced as one of the sources of the illegally sold drugs.
In a separate interview, CCPO officer-in-charge Police Colonel Engelbert Soriano stressed that while Valium is a legal drug, its sale and distribution are regulated by law.
Among the requirements needed before a pharmacy is allowed to sell Valium is a permit issued by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Valium is a prescription drug. Unlike firearms wherein you can possess one as long as you have a license, you cannot just have Valium if you don’t have any prescription given by a licensed physician. Possession of Valium without the proper prescription would make it a prohibited drug,” Soriano said in a mix of English and Tagalog.
Aside from the illegal sale of Valium, CCPO is also closely monitoring the possible proliferation of “ecstasy,” a popular party drug, as thousands of partygoers converge for the Sinulog weekend activities. (AYB of Superbalita Cebu / RTF)