By NITZ ARANCON
with JOEY NACALABAN
MAYOR Oscar Moreno yesterday ordered the salary of a city hall worker withheld following his arrest during an entrapment carried out by narcotics agents.
The suspect, 51-year-old city hall admintrative aide Candido Echalico a.k.a. Ondoy and Estigoy of Zone 6 Carmen, was arrested during a buy-and-bust operation conducted by the police’s Regional Special Operation Group and the Bulua police on Monday afternoon.
City administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a said Echalico is facing administrative sanctions, and Mayor Moreno would likely suspend or dismiss the suspect from the service if the court makes a ruling.
Echalico is under the City General Services Office; he works as a driver.
“Isip mga trabahente sa gobyerno, dapat lamang unta kita modelo kutob sa mahimo, maningkamot nga moserbisyo sa katawhan sa tinood buot kay dakong prebilihiyo nga matagaan kita sa kahigayonan, nga makasulod sa trabaho gobyerno,” Sabuga-a said.
But Sabuga-a said city hall would help Echalico if he submits to a rehabilitation program for people with drug problems.
“Motabang gihapon kita kon ipahigayon siya sa rehab because we believe that there is life after rehab. Again, manawagan ako kon naa pay uban nga taga-city hall nga biktima sa drugs, please submit yourselves; there is still hope for change,” he said.
Lt. Col Reynante Reyes, officer in charge of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office, said Echalico was arrested at Gaston Park, just a spitting distance from city hall and the St. Agustine Cathedral.
Police seized from Echalico a sachet of suspected shabu, a mobile phone, P380, and a “marked money” of P500.
Reyes said the suspect’s arrest was witnessed by Barangay 1 chairman Anthony Abejuela.
The entrapment was carried out following a month-long police surveillance, according to Reyes.
Capt. Jason Sto. Domingo, Bulua police chief, said Echalico was arrested during a joint operation by the police’s Regional Special Operation Group, the Bulua police station, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority.
Domingo said Echalico was a “high-value target” of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.