PNP: No proof ex-PDEA official on legitimate operations during drug raid

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WATCH: PDEA coordinating with AFP to verify Marcelino's assignment

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) official and now Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino insisted that he was conducting a legitimate operation when he was arrested in a drug raid in Manila on Thursday (January 21), but the Philippine National Police (PNP) said there is no proof to his claim.

Marcelino, a former director of the Special Enforcement Services of PDEA, was arrested with a former PDEA interpreter Chinese national Yan Yi, nicknamed Randy, in a house that has been under surveillance as a suspected storage for illegal drugs on Thursday.

Related: Former PDEA agent busted in early morning drug raid

Marcelino was brought to the Department of Justice on Friday from his detaining facility for his inquest on charges of manufacturing and possession of illegal drugs. A handcuffed Marcelino was teary eyed as he was escorted by operatives from the PDEA and Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG).

Marcelino insisted he had nothing to do with the drug trade and was there to confirm an intelligence report. He added that he had a mission order and other documents to prove his claim.

Police Sr. Supt. Antonio Gardiola countered Marcelino's claim, saying that if it was a legitimate mission, there should be supporting documents and the case office should have Marcelino by now.

Marcelino said his hope lay in the due process.

He believes he may have been framed after going against big personalities in the government and the PNP.

On January 22, Ferdinand Marcelino (L) was brought to the Department of Justice from his detaining facility for his inquest on charges for manufacturing and possession of illegal drugs

Gardiola said both Marcelino and Randy were considered high-risk value.

He revealed that the PNP-AIDG has been on the lookout particularly for Randy, who is believed to be one of the operators of the Asian Drug Network.

Gardiola added about 50 kilos of shabu seized from past police operations in Valenzuela and Binondo all came from the Manila house where Randy and Marcelino were found Thursday.

Why was he there?

PDEA Chief Dionisio Santiago talked to CNN Philippines on Friday (January 22) to share what Marcelino told him as to why he was in the house in Manila during the raid.

He said he was told that Marcelino was on his way to Manila to meet with his wife when he received a call from Randy.

"Ang sabi niya sa akin he went there kasi sinabi na merong laboratory dito, and he went there to verify. He was not there officially doing something," Santiago said.

Marcelino has a number of significant accomplishments in drug-busting operations such as the arrest of the Alabang boys in 2008 and the raid on the lavish quarters of drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison in 2014.

Delay in inquest

There was a delay of more than six hours before Marcelino and Randy finally underwent inquest proceedings at the Justice department.

The wait was due to the request of Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva for Marcelino to produce proper documents proving his presence in the shabu laboratory was part of a legitimate operation.

Villanueva directed Marcelino to call the Armed Forces' intelligence service to submit before him his mission order and authorization from his superior.

Around 4:30 p.m., Villanueva's office received a certification via fax from the Intelligence and Security Group of the Philippine Army stating that Marcelino is sharing classified information.

The paper, however, failed to convince the Justice official as there was no mention whether he was indeed part of a covert operation. He said it was "inconclusive [and] not categorical."

Marcelino would remain in detention, and would undergo preliminary investigation along with Randy. This would be his chance to answer the complaint against him.

If probable cause is found, then the case would be filed before the court.

Meanwhile, Atty. Dennis Manalo, Marcelino's lawyer, questioned the validity of the warrant of arrest. He said the subjects of the warrant were the three Chinese nationals and not Marcelino.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario and Triciah Terada contributed to this report.