ALMA CONCEPCION FACES 20-YEAR TERM IN GUAM
Manila, July 31, 1998 - The Philippine entertainment industry is still shocked by the news that 1994 Binibining Pilipinas, actress Alma Concepcion, faces the possibility of a 20-year prison term in Guam where she was arrested for possession and importation of "shabu" also known in Guam as "ice" and by police authorities worldwide as Methamphetamine Hydrochloride.
Alma was arrested at the Agana international airport immediately after disembarking from an airplane that brought her from Saipan where she was the guest of honor at a local beauty contest. According to the Agana Customs director, the actress was "acting strange" at the time of the arrest.
Philippine Consul General to Guam Antonio Villamor told the Manila Standard in a phone interview that, under United States laws, drug possession and importation are a felony and federal offence, respectively.
In Manila, Interior Undersecretary Ronaldo Puno said the Philippine government will extend all possible assistance to Alma.
A U.S. federal officer told a Manila television interviewer yesterday afternoon Concepcion could face a jail term of five to 20 years, depending on past records. As of yesterday, Concepcion and her lawyer, Patrick Civille, were still in the attorney general's office in Guam and charges were still being readied against her.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Concepcion, who is "being romantically linked to a high official in the Estrada administration" may have to fork out bail going as high as $50,000 for drug-related offenses.
In Manila, her manager Cesar Evangelista told the Manila Standard that Alma has never been known by anyone in the entertainment world to be a user of any illegal drugs.
Alma left the Philippines last Friday, July 24 for the Saipan beauty pageant and was scheduled to return last Monday, July 27, in time to attend classes at a business school.
Alma had earlier figured in a national controversy after the University of Santo Tomas kicked her out of school for appearing in bold movies. The incident provoked the Philippine Senate to conduct a thorough investigation of the Philippine film industry and of school policies.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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