Arayat municipal government officials accidentally discovered what was thought to be a shabu laboratory located at the foot of Mount Arayat in Lacquios, Pampanga while conducting fire safety and sanitary inspections on Thursday, September 22. Mayor Emmanuel Bonifacio Alejandrino told the Philippine Drug Enforcement agency how they were taken by surprise when they found the lab at an area for what was supposed to be a corn crusher and piggery.
The location of what the cops dubbed as “the biggest facility” they found in the entire Philippines so far was merely five kilometers away from Brgy. Balitucan in Magalang where a shabu lab under a piggery was discovered on September 7.
According to Senior Supt. Rodolfo Recomono Jr, Director of Pampanga Provincial Police Office, the lab may be able to produce as much as 50 to 100 kilograms of shabu daily, as evaluated by the crime lab chemists.
“It’s a good thing that we discovered this laboratory before it could produce and distribute finished products out to the market. My instruction to all police chiefs in the province is to be proactive. And it paid,” Recomono said.
However, some netizens raised a few questions as to the veracity of the information about the shabu lab and whether the estimates of how much shabu the lab could produce are not exaggerated, given that the cops and government officials involved in the discovery of the lab have ulterior motives.
Facebook user Bernard Ong, in his post on Friday, September 24, he said that he first saw the angle about the ‘mega’ shabu lab through the post of another netizen, Ramon de Guzman. He also did his own cross-checking and came up with several theories about that laboratory.
Ong also reported that one Chinese was caught while four others escaped.
But according to Ong, these Chinese nationals fleeing did not necessarily mean that they were into drugs. They could be fleeing for several reasons, such as not having work permits.
“One Chinese was nabbed while his four companions jumped over the wall. Could be shabu cooks, or maybe a case of illegal aliens w/o work permits,” Ong said.
He then urged to have “independent investigators” examine the suspect.
“Independent investigators should examine the suspect. Not the arresting cops who may torture him to get testimony that matches their own press release,” he added.
Ong also recommended to let chemists and chemical engineers should investigate the shabu lab themselves.
“Chemists & chemical engineers should check the ‘Mega Shabu Lab’ to validate its purpose & capacity. Police claimed the equipment can produce 100kg of shabu each month. From the scale on the pic, it seems an overkill of too much equipment to produce too little shabu,” he said.
He also provided links to websites of paint mixing facilities to be compared to the photo of the shabu lab near Mt. Arayat.
Ong also said that there are similar types of basic chemical batch production equipment that look like the Arayat shabu lab being sold at the online shop Alibaba.
He said that while he could not classify him the story about the mega shabu lab as a hoax, he urged independent investigators to dig deeper, considering how the police and government officials might have “vested interests” in making such a discovery.
“The local police & politicos who trumpeted the successful ‘raid’ have vested interests in scoring brownie points in the War on Drugs. A ‘mega lab’ is worth more points than a dozen kills which are fairly common these days,” he said.
“Too much falsehoods flying around to take government press statements at face value,” he added.
When one commenter pointed out how guns were made by the “unlikeliest manufacturing facilities” during World War II and added that chemical engineers should check out the alleged shabu lab, Ong said that it was exactly his point. He wanted to bring chemical engineers as well as PDEA canine units that can detect even the “tiniest speck of shabu” on the equipment.
Another commenter asked why would shabu manufacturers invest in a megalab that would easily stop their production capacity once it gets raided. Why not in facilities that can be easily dismantled and moved to another location?
In a separate post, Ong also said that with billions at stake, the owner of the shabu lab could not seem to afford walls and climate control to prevent raw materials from being contaminated.
“For all the billions at stake, it seems the owner could not even afford to have proper walls & climate control – to stop the grass from encroaching, to keep dust from contaminating valuable raw materials, to keep rain from disrupting manufacturing process, to protect precious finished products from outsiders,” Ong said.
In his comment, Ong added that there is a possibility this alleged “shabu lab” is a paint mixing plant that produces fake versions of paints, seeing as how China is the “world leader in such intellectual property theft.”
One commenter noted that if paint is being produced in the plant, the laboratory would need ventilation.
Someone who claimed to be a chemical engineer also offered an observation based on the published photos of the “shabu lab.”
And if the said lab is truly not a shabu lab, then the claim was merely “mega-imaginative, mega-fantasy, mega-propaganda,” according to one commenter.