Bato wonders: What did Azurin know of P6.7B shabu cover-up?

De la Rosa said the ‘cover-up angle’ would be focusing on Domingo’s statement that Azurin has knowledge of the said anti-drug operation involving Mayo

Senator Robin Padilla (center) with PDP-Laban party mates Senators Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and Bong Go. (Photograph by Dianne Bacelonia for The Daily Tribune)

There’s a definite police cover-up pertaining to the P6.7-billion shabu drug operation in October last year, Senator Ronald de la Rosa maintained yesterday.

“But as to what extent, we haven’t finalized it yet because based on the interviews we have done, no one is willing to speak the truth. Everyone is avoiding it,” De la Rosa said.

However, De la Rosa is optimistic that the truth will come out through the probe of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.

To recall, then-Philippine National Police chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. approved on 6 March the dismissal from the service of P/Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr., a member of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.

Mayo was arrested in a buy-bust operation in Manila undertaken by the men of PDEG chief P/Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo.

De la Rosa said the “cover-up angle” would be focusing on Domingo’s statement that Azurin has knowledge of the said anti-drug operation involving Mayo.

“We are focusing on that statement. So what did the chief PNP know?” the senator asked, wondering if Azurin had knowledge that Mayo would be freed so as not to drag the PNP as a whole into the mess.

For the time being, he (Mayo) is the main suspect.

Before retiring, Azurin confirmed a statement of the PNP Deputy Director for Operations at the time, P/Maj. Gen. Benjamin Santos, that he (Azurin) ordered Santos to oversee the post-buy-bust operation.

But Santos said Azurin’s order was for him to ensure that all the pieces of evidence would be processed properly and the protocols followed to ensure an airtight case against those behind the shabu haul.

Santos denied knowing Mayo was freed by Domingo purportedly so he can help arrest his cohorts.

Santos and Domingo, along with eight other high-ranking officials, were told by Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos to take a leave of absence.

According to De la Rosa, Domingo previously said that Azurin was given a heads-up on the conduct of the follow-up operations, including setting Mayo free.

“He asked clearance from the Chief PNP to conduct a follow-up operation. That’s why they uncuffed Mayo to make it appear that Mayo was part of the operation,” De la Rosa said of Domingo’s claim.

Mayo, according to De la Rosa, has refused to incriminate anyone or himself.

“For the time being, he (Mayo) is the main suspect. He has the constructive control or position over that shabu,” De la Rosa said. “He doesn’t want to tell who’s with him, but nobody believes him.”

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