By Jason B. Neola
VIRAC, Catanduanes --- The masked man who spilled the beans against ex-National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) anti-illegal drugs chief, Atty. Eric C. Isidoro as the one who masterminded the construction and operations of the country’s largest shabu laboratory in Barangay Palta Small in this island province was the most trusted person and close-in bodyguard of the former NBI official.
The self-confessed witness who surrendered to police authorities to clear his conscience also hopes that his coming out in the open from his highland refuge would help make all those behind the operation of the shabu lab and those who killed Larry Que, his bosom friend and kumpare, answerable to the crime.
The witness admitted that it was Que who brought him to Isidoro to whom he worked as close-in bodyguard for almost two years.
He said Que’s friendship with Isidoro soon turned sour when the former NBI chief reneged on his promise to give Que P1.5M as weekly payola. Instead, Que was given only P500,000 per week, one thing that infuriated Que which prompted him to decide later to report the operations of his shabu lab to the police.
Another person whom Isidoro duped in his payola transaction, according to the witness, was Boboy Wong whose real name is Jardin Brian B. Wong, son of
Cely Wong, the provincial governor at the time when the lab was built.
‘My mom is governor’
Boboy was named by the witness in his sworn statement as the one who financed and supplied the materials for the construction of shabu lab which was originally planned to be put up in Sabang, Palnab, here. After Boboy Wong agreed to finance the construction of the lab, the witness said he heard him saying: “Total, si mama naman an governor ng Catanduanes.”
Wong was promised that he will regularly receive his share in the illegal drug trade exclusive of the money he spent for the construction of the facility.
The witness said: “Narinig kong tinanong ni Boboy Wong si Larry Que kung ano ang sadya namin. Ang sagot ni Larry Que, mayroon tayong mapagkakakitaan, malaking pera na pang abang natin sa darating na eleksyon.” Sabi ni Isidoro, itong hinuli namin (tinuturo niya si Paolo Uy) ay makakatulong sa atin upang magkaroon ng malaking pera sa Catanduanes at ako na an bahala sa Bureau.
Finally, the shabu lab was constructed in May 2015 in a lot owned by Isidoro in Brgy. Palta Small, several meters away from the highway, not anymore in coastal Sabang Palnab which was described by Isidoro as strategically advantageous because of its three exit points. The change in the location was prompted by the presence of the fisherfolk and the locals frequenting the place.
A month before the construction of shabu laboratory was completed, it was revealed by the witness that Isidoro has already purchased the necessary equipment to be used in manufacturing shabu. Carried by trucks owned by Allan Ang Hung and Noel Sampag, the apparatuses were transported from Valenzuela, Metro Manila to Virac.
200 kls of shabu/day
The manufacturing of shabu in Virac was personally supervised by Paolo Uy who, along with two other Chinese nationals, namely, Raymond Lee and a certain Wang, was held captive by Isidoro after they were arrested in a raid at a shabu lab in Tarlac in November 2014. Uy and his companions were the ones manufacturing the illegal substance in the Tarlac-based lab.
Before the Chinese nationals were transported in this municipality, they were detained temporarily in an apartment-type residential unit owned by Que in Dapitan in Sampaloc, Manila while the planned construction of the facility at Palta Small in Virac was being explored.
It was in June 2015 when the shabu lab yielded its initial production of 5 kilograms of the illegal substance which were sold to a certain Mr. Lee at the New Bilibid Prison for P7.5M.
Lee was a trusted man of Tony Co who was reportedly killed inside the NBP. “Nagkikita po kami nina Mr. Lee sa may kainan o restaurant malapit sa gate ng Maximum (security) para kunin sa aming dalawa ni pareng Larry Que an dala naming shabu, the witness said.
“Noong mga panahong ‘yun kulang ang supply ng shabu at kahit sa mga Muslim ay halos walang supply kaya napaganda ang aming benta ng shabu. Kaya, kahit mapait pa ‘yung limang kilo namin ay mabilis itong na-i-dispose,” said the witness.
From 5 kilos, the produce increased to 12 kilos of shabu per day until it rose further to more than 200 kilos every day. “Tay Eric (Isidoro) told me to give instructions to Paolo Uy to make the most of their time so that it can achieve the production target of 500 kilos considering the expanding Manila market. He further instructed me to extend the manufacturing hours from 7 o’clock in the evening up to 12 noon of the following day,” the witness said.
Respondents in the charge sheet filed by the Virac Municipal Police Station along with the characters mentioned in this report include:
Boboy’s brother Tiptip Wong whose full name is Joseph Al Randie B. Wong for receiving and trading supply of shabu which were produced by the shabu lab at Palta Small. Tiptip, who is a former Mayor of Pandan and incumbent provincial board member, purchased 4 kilos per month from February to March 2016, and 7 kilos per month from April to August 2016.
Xian Xian Wang of Tondo, Manila and Pido Bonito of Caloocan City as registered owners of maroon Montero Sports vehicle with plate number NMQ 568, which was used as getaway vehicle by the fleeing Chinese nationals from the busted shabu laboratory in Brgy. Palta Small, here.
The witness’ good recollection of things clearly emphasized the participation of a certain “Mayor Cordial” as Isidoro’s contact in the delivery of three drums of colored blue chemicals to Codon in the town of San Andres by using Cordial’s speed boat.
A day after the witness made his testimony in public last week, former Mayor Constantino Huit Cordial of Caramoan, Camarines Sur appeared before some newsmen in Naga City to clear his alleged involvement in the operations of shabu lab and on other related issues thrown against him. He swore before God that he is innocent.
The former mayor even dared the masked witness to confront him with uncovered face. “The allegations are politically-motivated,” the ex-municipal mayor insisted.
“Nang makuha ko itong tatlong drums ng chemicals, dinala ko na ito sa planta (shabu lab) at iniwan ko na lang sa caretaker na nangangalang Flores na taga-Hilawan, San Andres. Pinsan siya nang taong nahuli sa shabu lab na si Lawrence Pinera,” the witness said.
Two days after the witness and Larry Que have transported the 3 drums of chemicals, Isidoro called the former to look for other clients. He then proceeded to Legazpi City to offer the illegal drugs to a certain Snooky Imperial, a former Albay board member. Imperial reportedly ordered from him two kilos of shabu.
“Ang iba pang pinadalhan ko ng shabu na gawa sa Brgy. Palta Small ay sina Don Pepe ng Tiaong, Quezon, walong kilo; Jun Rance, 2 kilos, at Mayor Cordial, 2 kilos. “Nang kalaunan ang naging produksyon ng shabu lab ay 200 kilos kada araw. Alam ko po ito sa kadahilanan na ako at si pareng Larry Que ang siyang nagpakalat nito sa mga parokyano namin,” the witness said in his 8-page sworn statement subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public/Lawyer Alfred M. Aquino on May 26, 2017.
After the 2016 elections, Larry Que again convinced the witness to join him in his plan to uncover the operations of shabu lab to police authorities, which he turned down. Que, however, did not listen to his advices. “Sinabi sa akin ni pareng Larry na kapag isinuplong niya sa awtoridad [si Tay Eric Isidoro at ang shabu lab nito] magkakaroon siya ng reward na P6 million. Mula noong Setyembre 2016 ay bihira na akong magpakita sa kanila at ako ay nagsimula nang magtago,” the witness said.
It was on the fourth week of October 2016 when Isidoro called up and offered him P50,000 just to kill his kumpare, a proposal which the witness rejected. “Sinagot ko po si Tay Eric na nagbagong buhay na ako at naninirahan na sa bundok para magtrabaho sa bukid,” he said.
The ex-NBI chief informed his former close-in bodyguard that he will be sending two men from Camarines Sur to execute the plan to kill Que and that he was requested only to serve as their guide but the invitation got a negative response from the witness who also feared for his life.
It was in November 2016, before Que was killed near the Land Transportation Office, when the shabu lab was raided by the police.