Authorities uproot marijuana plants in the mountain village of the western Cebu town of Balamban on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Cebu Provincial Mobile Force Battalion)

Law enforcers arrested three suspects and uprooted a total of PHP8.8-million worth of marijuana plants in a mountain village in the western Cebu town of Balamban Thursday.

Lt. Colonel Rene Kyamco, chief of the Cebu Provincial Mobile Force Battalion (CPMFB), Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) identified the arrested locals as Leopoldo Bonghanoy, 64, former councilman of Barangay Sunog; his son Fernan, 35, and nephew Arnel Castro, 37.

According to Kyamco, a concerned citizen notified them about the marijuana plantation in Barangay Sunog.

The joint forces from the Cebu Provincial Mobile Force Company (CPMFC), together with the personnel from the Naval Forces Central and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7), confirmed the report they received after they caught the three arrested locals in the act of harvesting the marijuana plants.

“We were just checking the report, (in surveillance) how true is the report that there are thousands of marijuana planted in this area. But the three of them were caught in the act,” Kyamco said.

Kyamco added that the areas they visited were found to be a wide plantation of fully-grown marijuana.

The operatives uprooted 15,000 stalks with with a total value of PHP6 million at one of the sites.

They also discovered the second marijuana farm and confiscated around 7,000 stalks of marijuana plants worth PHP2.8 million, just a few meters away from the first site.

The area is reportedly owned  by a former councilman, while his son and nephew planted the marijuana a year ago.

Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay, barangay officials, and CPPO Police Provincial Director, Col. Roderick Mariano were at the site to witness the uprooting of the marijuana plants.

The three suspects are charged of violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 Section 16 that penalize cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs or are sources of it. (RJ Espartinez)