Ex-Magdalo member back as PDEA 7 chief

JIGGER Montallana, who served as director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) Central Visayas office from 2011 to 2012, is back in Cebu.

Montallana has been reinstalled as PDEA 7’s director, replacing outgoing director Levi Ortiz, who will be transferred to the agency’s Cagayan Valley office.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Ortiz thanked his subordinates and local government officials in the region as well as the Police Regional Office 7 and the Bureau of Customs for their support in the fight against illegal drugs.

Ortiz hoped that many illegal drug dependents would realize the harm caused by their vices.

“As I leave Region 7, I pray that a lot more drug users will realize the destructive effect of illegal drugs and will decide to reform and rehabilitate themselves, because no matter how much the drug supply if no one will crave for it or use it, illegal drugs will lose its market,” said Ortiz, who is a Cebuano.

Leia Alcantara, PDEA 7 spokesperson, said Ortiz’s departure would not affect the agency’s campaign against illegal drugs as their police counterparts from Cebu Province and Cebu City continue to support them.

Alcantara said since Ortiz became PDEA 7 director in June 15, 2020, the agency has confiscated more than P1 billion worth of illegal drugs.

From June 15, 2020 to Jan. 17, 2023, around 665 barangays have been declared as drug-cleared, 41 are considered drug-free, and six municipalities are now considered drug-cleared, according to PDEA 7.

At least 97 drug dens were also dismantled and 812 drug personalities arrested and charged in court in 378 anti-illegal drug operations.

The agency also destroyed around P766 million worth of suspected shabu, marijuana and ecstasy.

New chief

Before becoming a member of PDEA 7, Montellano was a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy in 2002.

After graduation, Montellano was assigned at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Airbase in Lapu-Lapu City.

In 2008, Montellano was honorably discharged from the military service after he and 299 fellow soldiers composing members of the Magdalo Group participated in the failed Oakwood Mutiny in 2003. (AYB / TPT)