Bato: Azurin not yet off the hook

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs is not yet clearing former Philippine National Police Chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., in the alleged “massive attempt to cover up” the arrest of Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr. in the 990-kilo shabu haul in October last year.

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, the committee chairperson, said Mayo’s direct superior, relieved PNP-Drug Enforcement unit head Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, is still hiding information and may still divulge new claims in the coming days.

“We can’t completely say that everything he’s been saying is true. In the next hearings, Domingo might say that PNP Chief (Azurin) cleared the cover-up of Mayo. We don’t know yet because Domingo is still hiding something. Azurin… He’s not yet off the hook,” Dela Rosa told the reporters.

Domingo has since exempted Azurin from the case.

Dela Rosa said Azurin confirmed that he gave a directive to conduct a follow-up anti-drug operation but rejected claims of an attempted cover-up of Mayo’s involvement in the illegal drug trade.

He, however, said the PNP’s investigation into the controversy has “opened a can of worms” about the deep roots of illegal drugs in the national police force.

In a public hearing on Tuesday, Dela Rosa knelt before the PNP officers, pleading with them to speak the truth behind the alleged “cover-up” in the P6.7-billion worth of ‘shabu’ seized from Mayo.

In a separate interview over the weekend, Dela Rosa defended his actions during the hearing saying he will do anything to know the truth.

“They said, I am debasing the image of the Senate for kneeling on the police officers. I don’t care as far as the truth will prevail,” he said, partly in Filipino, noting that this strategy has even worked.

“After that kneeling and pleading them, someone approaches me saying: ‘Sir, next hearing, I will say the truth,” Dela Rosa added.

Since the start of the hearings, at least 10 police officers have been cited in contempt for allegedly lying and confusing lawmakers with contradicting statements during the buy-bust operation.

These police officers are now at the Senate detention center, except for Mayo who was under the custody of Metro Manila District Jail since December.

Mayo attended the previous hearing but did not say anything as he invoked his right to remain silent.

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