By Miko Morelos
Authorities are verifying reports that several multimillion-peso houses in the exclusive Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City—where narcotics agents have raided three medium-scale drug laboratories in the past two weeks—are being used as gambling dens.
Senior Superintendent Ramiro Bauza, Muntinlupa police chief, said that he had been tasked by Mayor Aldrin San Pedro to coordinate with local officials to review the subdivision’s security measures following the discovery of laboratories involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, in the area.
“We are looking into the report, particularly into this new information on gambling dens,” Bauza told the Inquirer in a phone interview Sunday. “As of now, we are in the process of reviewing the security protocol of the village.”
Earlier, San Pedro expressed alarm over the series of raids conducted by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents in the area, considering the stringent security measures being enforced in the exclusive subdivision. According to the mayor, the measures may have been used by drug lords to their advantage.
San Pedro’s spokesman and city information chief, Omar Acosta, told the Inquirer that the mayor had also heard reports about the alleged operations of gambling dens in the area, prompting the latter to order the police to conduct an investigation.
“But initially, the mayor wants to have the security measures at Ayala Alabang placed under review, because obviously, the criminals are using this in their favor,” Acosta said.
Several residents—who spoke to the Inquirer on the condition of anonymity due to safety concerns—claimed that some houses in Ayala Alabang that had been rented out to foreigners seem devoid of any sign of life during daytime.
At night, however, these houses suddenly become beehives of activity.
Another odd thing about those houses was the type of garbage they produced.
“The garbage of one house consisted of cigarette butts, bottles of beer and alcoholic beverage and even junk food wrappers,” the resident said. “What kind of family lives on that diet?”
This suspicion was backed up by several other residents.
Bauza, who was informed by the Inquirer of the residents’ statements, said that he would bring the matter up when he meets officials of the barangay and village association.
The recent drug raids, on the other hand, did not come as a surprise to some residents who said that these merely confirmed the suspicions they had held since last year.
One told the Inquirer about smelling “a noxious odor, as if something was burning” during the wee hours of the morning.
When the resident asked the security personnel of the village to verify the information, the latter said that everything was all right.
In the first raid conducted by PDEA agents on January 6, five Chinese nationals were arrested in a house at 504 Acacia Avenue. Seized during the operation were P15 million worth of drugs.
Two more raids conducted on January 13 at 119 Kanlaon St. and 536 Country Club Drive resulted in the seizure of more drugs and laboratory equipment but there were no arrests since the houses had been abandoned.
Authorities said that the houses were medium-sized drug laboratories that could produce P500 million worth of shabu within two to three days.