The United States Drug Enforcement Agency warned of Philippine Narcopolitics in 2010 and in May 2010, even before former President Noynoy Aquino or PNoy won in the 2010 Presidential Elections running as standard bearer of the Liberal Party, then Liberal Party National Treasurer and Quezon Province governor Rafael Nantes was under investigation for drug links.
In a May 10, 2010 article published in Balita:
Quezon governor and Liberal Party treasurer, faces probe over drug transshipments
May 10, 2010 12:50 am
MANILA, May 9 -– Authorities are poised to investigate Quezon Governor Rafael Nantes for any knowledge about the discovery of drug transshipments and manufacturing base on the island of Icolong in the province.
Nantes, who is also a former congressman, is the national treasurer of the Liberal Party (LP) whose standard-bearer, Senator Benigno Aquino III, is the front-runner in presidential surveys.
“This is an international drug operation which is happening in the town of Burdeos. That should raise alarm on Governor Nantes. In fact, there is suspicion on the local government of letting this happen,” said Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) Director for Region 13 Philip A. Placer.
He said with the discovery of transshipments in the island, it is feared that the country will become a center or transshipment point for high-value drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).
He noted there was a United States Drug Enforcement Agency (USDEA) report which, essentially, warned of drug money making its way to unscrupulous politicians and making the hotly-contested presidential election susceptible to influence by this massive illegal operations inimical to national security.
Placer as well as well-placed sources from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said there has been no representation from the Quezon provincial capitol to address the drug threat in the province.
The PASG stumbled upon the drug transshipment and manufacturing base last Thursday night on Icolong Island in Quezon province.
The PASG said Saturday its teams spent 14 hours along the western coast of Southern Luzon last Thursday to trace the nautical route of misdeclared import shipments in violation of the Tariff Code.
Placer said his agents followed a suspicious shipment that ended in a safehouse in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Judith in Burdeos on Icolong Island and immediately did a raid.
Placer said in the raid of the Akira Sakurai & Hiro Taniguchi, Howa Inc. Pearl Farm, they uncovered chemicals that are used in the manufacture of “shabu,” giving physical credence to the US intelligence report of narco-politics shaping up in the country.
PASG operatives confiscated highly-regulated chemicals such as potassium nitrate, disodium nitrogen phosphate, sodium orthosilicate N-hydrate powder, and sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate.
Placer said Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of the Cavite Regional Trial Court Branch 22 issued the warrants to search the premises based on reliable information received by the PASG in a case against the Pearl Farm.
The operation came amid the leaking out of the USDEA report three weeks ago that US$ 8.4 billion (P384 billion) worth of dangerous drugs were “either being generated, passes through or is used by drug syndicates in the Philippines,” he said. (PNA)
And then Governor Nantes died in a helicopter crash:
By Alexis Romero and Rudy Santos | Updated May 18, 2010 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Quezon governor and Liberal Party National Treasurer Rafael Nantes and five other individuals died after a private helicopter crashed yesterday afternoon in a subdivision in Lucena City, the military said in a text message. Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command spokesman Col. Generoso Bolina said the chopper crashed at around 3:15 p.m. in Hael Subdivision in Barangay Iyam in Lucena City.
Two of the fatalities were identified only as Army Master Sergeant Alfredo Dominguez and PO2 Randy Roperez, both security aides of Nantes. The other casualties include a pilot and two civilians whose houses were hit by the chopper. The other civilian was Rowena Navales, 14.
Bolina said the civilian chopper exploded 300 meters after take off. Initial reports state that Nantes was about to go back to Manila when the crash happened. There were no reported survivors from the incident.
Authorities are still verifying the other details involving the crash as of press time.
A private helicopter with registry number RP-C2550, a Robinson 44 type and owned by Lion Air took off at the general aviation hangar in Manila around 7:21 a.m. with a flight plan Manila-Lucena-Manila.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Alfonso Cusi said that according to the flight plan there are four passengers on board identified as Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes and pilot Captain N.C. Sanchez and two security officers who were still unidentified as of press time.
In 2011, Governor Nantes' widow, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Director Betty Nantes sough the help of then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate her husband's death:
05:59 PM June 2nd, 2011
Widow of Quezon governor who died in chopper crash asks DoJ to probe incident
MANILA, Philippines—The widow of Quezon Governor Rafael Nantes has asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to order an investigation surrounding the death of her husband.
Nantes died in a helicopter crash last year while he was on his way to Manila to meet with political lawyer Romulo Macalintal to turn over evidence of election anomalies in his area.
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Director Betty Nantes said they sought an investigation because they were not convinced by the finding of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that the accident was caused by a pilot error.
Mrs. Nantes said that even before her husband boarded the chopper, his supporters had already received messages that her husband was already dead.
She said the CAAP report was based only on Acetone and water swabs taken from the crash site, which yielded negative to the test for explosives and explosive ingredients.
Nantes and five others were killed in a chopper crash on Saturn St., Jael Subdivision, Barangay (village) Iyam, Lucena City, on May 17, 2010.
Other fatalities included Master Sergeant Alfredo Dominguez and Police Officer 3 Randy Roprez, security aides; retired Captain Nestor Sanchez, helicopter pilot; and Rowena Navales, a resident of the subdivision.
Chito Gascon, the Commission on Human Rights chairman now, was the Director General of Liberal Party then.