Barbers smells ‘local protection’ in Catanduanes drug lab

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Are the operators of the mega-shabu laboratory in Virac, Catanduanes enjoying protection from local officials?

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers, who led a public hearing on the matter at the Catanduanes State University auditorium last week, thinks so.

In particular, he said it appears the lab’s maintainers and operators led by one Jason Gonzales Uy and three Chinese chemists “are being extended protection by certain authorities from Catanduanes.”

“The mega shabu lab was constructed without appropriate barangay and town clearance or permits; was provided power by the local electric cooperative without clearance from the local Bureau of Fire office, and the police and local authorities failed to detect it for over a year,” he said in a statement Sunday, February 26.

“We would dig further on the seeming negligence and possible lapses committed by law enforcement agencies and local government officials, among others, that may have allowed such a huge shabu lab in Virac to get constructed and to operate and the mysterious escape of the suspects prior to the police raid,” Barbers said.

Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua and Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes have denied their hand in the drug lab, which is reportedly able to produce 9.6 tons of shabu per month. It was raided by authorities last November.

Barbers chairs the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs. #