Top drug personality Ricky Serenio named one of the two media personalities, who allegedly received “payola” from the illegal drug operations under the Berya Drug Group, in an interview at Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. in Barangay Estefania, Bacolod City, yesterday.
Serenio positively identified one of the media personalities as Edwin de Pedro, who he said resides in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. However, he said, he could not remember the full name of the other one, who he also said, had ran for kagawad of Barangay Bata in Bacolod but lost.
The two involved media personalities claimed they were employees of Bombo Radyo, Serenio said.
The DAILY STAR reached de Pedro last night, but he said he could not issue a statement since he has to consult his legal counsel first.
“Before, they received P5,000 weekly, but when the name of my boss Berya, and my name was being mentioned, they were given P50,000 weekly,” Serenio said.
He said they usually give the “payola” during Mondays, and seldom on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Serenio said he would deliver the “payola” to de Pedro in Talisay, or at a mall in the city. The money was wrapped in paper, sealed and thrown into the car of the media persons, if they were riding one, he added.
Mary Divine Grace Cuello, station manager of Bombo Radyo-Bacolod, said that de Pedro was an employee of their station but not anymore. He is no longer connected with Bombo Radyo, she added.
“We are confident in our employees, that they are not receiving payola,” Cuello said.
She also said that they will refer to their legal team for actions to be taken on anyone using their names.
On Monday, Serenio divulged details of their illicit operations with the law enforcers, judges, court personnel, politicians, and media personalities who are allegedly protectors of drugs in Bacolod and Negros Occidental.
“I am the one personally giving the money to some police officers, weekly, ranging from P30,000 up to P500,000 depending on how drug-affected their area is,” Serenio said.
Serenio, 34, of Barangay Singcang-Airport in Bacolod, was arrested at Rizal Street in Barangay Zone 9, Talisay City in Negros Occidental Sunday, on the strength of an arrest warrant for grave coercion charges, police records show.
He is now facing other charges for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, after a .45 caliber pistol with a magazine loaded with five live ammunition and a fragmentation grenade were recovered from him, the police said.
As a level three high-value target since the areas of their drug operations were provincial, regional and national, the police considered the arrest of Serenio as a “big catch.”
Serenio is set to present his affidavit with the names of involved personalities this week.*SGG
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