MANILA, Philippines-Joshua “Josh” Habalo, one of the suspected drug dealers at the Closeup Forever Summer open-air concert, was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday, May 27 during a party at the House of Manila Club in Remington Hotel in Pasay City.
Joel Tovera, chief of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Division (AIDD, revealed that Habalo, who had ecstasy tablets, packets of coccaine and 3 suspected “green amore” tablets in possession, was arrested late Friday evening.
Five concert-goers namely Ariel Leal, Lance Garcia, Bianca Fontejon, Ken Migawa, and Robertson Miller died during the concert allegedly due to drug overdose, poisoning and even heatstroke. NBI autopsy reports also showed that Garcia and Fontejon died of heart attack and had internal bleeding and water in their lungs. NBI medical legal officer Dr. Wilfredo Tierra also noted that their hearts were blackened.
In his interview with Rappler, Habalo admitted that he took drugs and was high during the concert held on May 21 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. However, he denied selling drugs and knowing any of the victims who tragically died during the event.
According to NBI senior investigator Salvador Arteche Jr, they carried out an entrapment operation against Habalo from 11 pm to 2 am following a tip from a club reservation under his name.
Agents of NBI AIDD and Philippine Drug Enforcement agency as well as local police went undercover as drug buyers and met Habalo. Reportedly, Habalo offered them ecstasy at P1,500 per tablet.
The undercover agents then agreed to purchase 5 ecstasy tablets from Habalo giving authorities the opportunity to nab the suspect after he received marked money.
Habalo is facing charges in violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 and is set to be presented to the Office of the Pasay City Prosecutor for inquest proceedings.
Currently, the NBI is carrying out tests to know if the drugs confiscated from Habalo are prohibited in the Philippines.