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During his time as the head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino busted several drug deals and apprehended narcotics groups, both big and small. But things took a 180-degree turn on Thursday when he was caught by authorities in a drug bust, this time as a suspect.

Marcelino and a Chinese citizen named Yan Yi Shou, who previously served as a PDEA interpreter in 2005 were spotted going in and out of an apartment that was under surveillance by narcotics agents for being a suspected clandestine “shabu” laboratory.

According to the narcotics team via a press release of the Philippine National Police, they were “surprised to see” Marcelino on the scene.

The apartment that was raided by the authorities was discovered to be stored with over 60 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride placed in four trays in the crystallization phase, as well as 30 kilos of already finished shabu, and the chemicals and instruments used to make the said illegal drug.

Illegal charges are to be brought upon Marcelino and Yan, as well as the other Chinese nationals caught in the scene of the crime.

Marcelino innocent? Frame up theory emerges

While the PNP is firm in pressing charges against Marcelino, narcotics agents at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) believe otherwise.

“I think Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino had been set up,” said NBI narcotics chief Eric Isidoro. “By whom it’s hard to say. He is a good operator and passionate in the fight against illegal drugs.”

Isidoro said that he has been witness to Marcelino’s stand in fighting against illegal drugs. Back in 2014, the former PDEA chief provided intelligence information to the NBI on a clandestine drug lab in Camiling Tarlac, which led to the confiscation of P3 billion worth of shabu and the arrest of six Chinese nationals.

“He has very deep connections and understands the illegal drug industry and if he says he was there for a job, I am inclined to believe him,” Isidoro added.

On the other hand, the Intelligence and Security Group (ISG) of the Philippine Army has issued a certification that Marcelino was working with them in this particular drug case, in consonance to the GHQ (General Headquarters) Directive on AFP Task Force Moses and PA Task Group Midas. The same certification was issued during the latter’s intelligence work back in November-December 2015.