Shabu found in hall

A COMMOTION occurred at the barangay hall in Zapatera, Cebu City on Monday night, Jan. 6, 2020 after a small pack of suspected shabu was found in the office of suspended village chief Francisco “Frank” Benedicto.

Acting Zapatera chief Juan Flores told SunStar Cebu that one of their councilors, Helen Grace Yap, went inside Benedicto’s office with a fellow barangay worker to retrieve the cord of the barangay’s biometrics machine which was necessary to monitor the attendance of barangay employees when the shabu was reportedly found.

Benedicto has been under preventive suspension for two months since December following sexual harassment and corruption complaints filed against him before the Cebu City Council.

Yap said she and her fellow councilors decided during their regular session to pass a resolution asking Benedicto to turn over some items to the village council while he was serving his suspension.

Among the items that needed to be turned over to the village council was the biometrics cord.

After the resolution was approved, Yap asked Benedicto’s son, Barangay Zapatera councilor Jose Marino Benedicto, to stand as witness while she opened his father’s office to get the cord. But the younger Benedicto reportedly dodged Yap’s request and instead just told her the cord was at his father’s office.

As they searched for the cord, Yap said she found the suspected shabu inside a blue envelope with the suspended village chief’s belongings. She immediately ordered one of the tanods to call the police.

Parian Police Station Chief Sgt. Rommel Bancog said upon the request of barangay officials, they collected the suspected shabu and had it examined at the Regional Crime Laboratory.

Bancog said no charges will be filed since no one claimed ownership of the contraband.

For his part, Benedicto said someone maliciously placed the shabu in his office.

“Para nako, no big deal man to. Butangbutang ra man to. Naay nag-ingon nga gi-planted ra to (For me, it’s no big deal. Those are just made up allegations. Someone told me it was planted),” said Benedicto adding that the drugs may have been intentionally planted to prevent him from returning to office after his suspension. (BBT, JCT / JKV)