Authorities close down Makati bar after seizing ₱1.6-M worth of party drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — Authorities closed down a bar in Makati after seizing ₱1.6 million worth of party drugs in a buy-bust operation early Saturday.

Police recovered 19 sachets of cocaine, capsules and tablets of ecstasy, and other drug paraphernalia at the Times Bar, which authorities said served as a "drug den" for its patrons.

"Pagpasok natin dito hindi natin sila nahuli sa akto ng paggamit [They were not caught in the act] but as we can see here, it is being used for using drug, which could be considered a drug den," Metro Manila police chief Guillermo Eleazar said.

Police arrested 31 bar employees, including the bar's operations manager, Sonny Abrio, who denied any knowledge about the party drug trade.

An unregistered firearm was also recovered from one of the employees.

More than a hundred customers, 57 of whom are foreigners, were brought to the police station for profiling.

The police said they are waiting for a search warrant before opening a vault found in the bar.

"The manager even refused to open the vault na nakita natin sa taas. Binibuksan niya pero ang sabi nagkamali ayaw niya mabuksan," Eleazar said.

[Translation: "The manager even refused to open the vault we saw upstairs. He said he can't open it."]

Eleazar said the police have monitored the bar for a week, following the arrest of a drug suspect who supposedly frequented the place.

He said the police will again pursue a series of dialogues with entertainment establishments, as they vow to intensify the crackdown against party drugs proliferating in Metro Manila's bars.

This was first done in 2016 when the government launched the drug war.

"We will be coordinating with LGU (local government units), not only here but other LGUs with entertainment establishments na papalakasin ulit natin (we will strengthen it)," Eleazar said.

"Kasi yung nangyayari dito possibly nangyayari din sa ibang lugar (Because what happened here could also be the case in other areas)," he added.