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Lea’s half-brother held in ecstasy bust

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The half brother of world-renowned theatre actress and singer Lea Salonga was arrested along with two other men for allegedly peddling ecstasy in Pasig City, the Quezon City Police District announced yesterday.

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Senior Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said in a press briefing yesterday that Philip Salonga, 37, was collared during a buy-bust operation around 2:30 a.m. yesterday outside a bar in Ortigas Center, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City.

His arrest came after the QCPD’s anti-illegal drugs unit (DAID) nabbed on Thursday night his alleged cohort, Nathaniel Adrian Cruz, 39, in Barangay Pinyahan.

According to Eleazar, Cruz pointed to Salonga as his supplier.

Salonga’s another cohort, Edward Nelson Jose, 33, was arrested in a follow-up operation around 3 a.m. yesterday in Quezon City.

Police recovered from the suspects a total of 80 ecstasy tablets worth P120,000; three plastic bags of dried marijuana leaves, a mobile phone, P15,000 cash and the P14,500 boodle money.

Police also confiscated Dela Cruz’ Toyota Avanza (ZPC-224).

A matrix showed during the press conference identified Salonga as the supplier of Jose and Cruz, who are said to be selling party drugs in bars in Pasig City and Quezon City.

“According to our intel, they have been operating for quite some time. The specifics, we do not know yet,” Eleazar told reporters.

He said they have yet to probe Salonga’s sources and even his possible links to big-time ecstasy dealers.

In his defense, Salonga, a chef and a freelance host, belied he is an ecstasy supplier. He said he only sells the drug when buyers text him and it was only his second time.

Salonga also admitted that he has been using the illegal drug since last year, but not frequently.

He said Lea has no knowledge about his involvement in the drug trade.

Salonga said they last met 40 days after their father’s death last January.

“Di ko po talaga nililinya ‘yan kasi chef po ako, nagpo-promote ng bar, emcee at host paminsan-minsan,” he reiterated.

This is the first time that the QCPD busted persons linked in high-end drugs often patronized by people frequenting bars and party events.

The QCPD chief added they are mapping out plans to meet with bar owners in Quezon City to seek their help in curbing illegal drugs trade.

Eleazar said they are also set to conduct Oplan Tokhang operations in exclusive subdivisions within the city on September 20. (VANNE ELAINE P. TERRAZOLA)

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