Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced on Tuesday noontime that her City Information Officer, Jefry Tupas, was involved in a drug raid at Mabini, Davao de Oro on November 6.
The mayor said details of the raid are only known to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Tupas.
“Last Sunday, Jefry signified his resignation and on the same moment he was informed that he is (sic) terminated from with the City Government of Davao,” the mayor said.
Earlier, Tupas admitted she attended the beach party that was raided for party drugs estimated to be worth at P1.5 million.
In a statement released to the City Hall reporters’ chat group around Tuesday midnight, Tupas said “I was there because like the other guests, I was invited. But I left right after dinner with my boyfriend and another friend.”
When news of the raid came out late on Saturday night, social media was abuzz that Tupas reportedly was in the party. Local news reports released the names of those apprehended by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), but her name was not on the list.
Mindanews asked PDEA spokesperson Noli Dimaandal if Tupas were among those apprehended, but Mindanews got no reply.
Tupas could not be reached after the incident. Her Facebook account was deactivated and her mobile phone was unattended until late Monday night.
Rappler was able to reach Tupas on Monday night, and she admitted she was in the photos that circulated online showing her in the party.
Tupas said the party was by invitation, but she and her boyfriend left at 8 pm because she had to work the following day. At 9 pm, the PDEA raided the party venue.
“Since I don’t drink colored drinks, ako na ang nag-drive pabalik (I was the one who drove back home),” Tupas was quoted by Rappler.
The party was hosted by a Revsan Ethelbert Elizalde for his birthday, at the Sea Eagles Beach Resort in Mabini. He was the target of the drug raid conducted by PDEA together with the local police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), where 16 others were apprehended.
Authorities reported that they found seven tablets of suspected party drugs worth P1.277,400; three sachets of shabu weighing 10 grams worth P150,000; 77 pieces of alleged LSD worth P130,000; 26 sachets of marijuana weighing 200 grams worth P24,000; and nine bottles of suspected party drugs worth P15,000.
The 17 persons apprehended are now detained at NBI Davao as they face charges of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act. Authorities identified some of them as “young professionals.”
Tupas told Rappler she only learned about the raid after driving back to Davao City from social media news reports, which prompted her to temporarily deactivate her Facebook account.
The Dutertes are known for their strong campaign against illegal drugs.
Prior to her work as information officer at the City Hall, Tupas was a correspondent to local and national dailies, founded an online news platform and managed a news radio station.
Tupas was the grand prize winner of the European Union Peace Journalism Award in 2015.