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Cong. Mercado warns local OFWs to be wary of being used as mule for illegal drug syndicates abroad

By BONG PEDALINO
August 29, 2010

MAASIN CITY  –  A mule is an animal used as beast of burden in other countries, having a horse-like appearance but usually smaller than a regular horse.

In the illegal drug trade, especially abroad, they also have a language called a “mule,” which means a carrier of a banned substance, like cocaine, among others.

But this carrier, who is an unsuspecting person, mostly a Filipino overseas worker who just obliged out of courtesy or social favor, does not know what he or she was carrying about, until an arrest by authorities reveal an inconvenient truth: illegal drugs was in his, her possession.

That individual has become a mule for illegal drug syndicates, without him, her knowing it, and we should be wary about this kind of modus operandi, warned Rep. Roger Mercado.

During his bi-monthly radio program over DYDM yesterday, Cong. Mercado cautioned his listeners particularly those with relatives or family members working abroad to resist as politely as possible any request to bring a personal, hand-carried item from someone whom they knew, even a friend, how much more a stranger.

He said this was the reason many OFWs now founded themselves in jail for a crime which they have been fallen as an unwitting victim.

The Southern Leyteño solon made the warning when he was asked for updates on the case of a Maasinhon OWF, his neighbor in Barangay Abgao, by the name of Rudelia Palima, who ended up in a jail in Iran for carrying a banned substance the “padala” way, or the mule way early this year.

Palima’s case was already refered to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretar Conejos, the one in-charge in handling such kind of concerns, Mercado said, adding that a fund was already set to reach the prison in Iran.

He said he immediately saw in person DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo after learning about Rudelia’s plight.

Rudelia’s father, who was listening since the start of the radio program, called in to say on-air his gratitude for the efforts made by the solon to free her daughter.

Mercado encouraged him and all the other listeners to keep on praying for the safe release of the Maasihon OFW, even as he reiterated his call to be always on alert so no one will be a mule again.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)