Quirino goes to Najayo

The Second Chamber of the Appeals Court of the National District ratified the initial sentence of the lower court, and sent former Army officer Quirino Paulino Castillo to the prison in Najayo along with the driver of the truck that was carrying 1,387 kilograms of cocaine.

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez told reporters that the jailed former Army officer must have had ties to officials in the former government of Hipolito Mejia. The Dominican prelate told reporters from Hoy that the former administration did little to face the problems affecting the country, and instead “permitted the increase in crimes.” When the Cardinal was asked about the possible politicizing of the criminal process against Paulino Castillo, he was very emphatic, saying “no, no, that is not true, they have to stop fooling around. Here, this person (Quirino Paulino Castillo) has been tied to the former authorities. People have to stop coming up with this nonsense. Nobody will believe them….”

Former Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch refused to answer reporter’s questions about the Cardinal’s statements. She told the reporters that former President Hipolito Mejia would have to answer their questions.

Finally, Hoy newspaper reports that the Minister of the Armed Forces is looking into possible ties between the military and the former army officer accused in the latest cocaine smuggling scandal. Admiral Sigfrido Pared Perez told reporters that he felt that Paulino Castillo had ties with some active officials. The minister said that within the armed forces, Paulino Castillo was never really considered an officer, but rather “a drug trafficker with a captain’s uniform.” When he was asked point blank if the ministry was investigating any ties between Paulino Castillo and Armed Forces personnel, the Admiral said: “Of course we are! Including any person that had any type of contact with him, knowing what he (Paulino Castillo) was.” The minister reminded the reporters that the purging of the rank and file of the Armed Forces was an on-going process.