Law enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), are engaged in a turf war, which is complicating the government’s all-out war on drugs.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Committees on Justice and Human Rights and Blue Ribbon, affirmed the conflict between PNP and PDEA as he vowed that more bombshells are expected on Tuesday when the Senate inquiry resumes.
In a radio interview yesterday, Gordon said the investigating panel will disclose the disagreements between both agencies that leave a gap for erring cops to manage illegal activities.
“Correct. And you will be surprised on Tuesday. There are lots (of information) that will be disclosed. It’s starting to come out and it happened in a region,” Gordon said when asked if PDEA and PNP are clashing on the government’s operations in line with the administration’s drug war.
“There is no cooperation. There is no teamwork. They work separately,” he added.
The senator revealed the committee will issue subpoenas to some PNP generals to dig up anomalies perpetrated by some law enforcers.
“We will send some subpoenas to some police generals to shed light on these incidents. We are not assuming anything. We are still investigating,” he said.
In a previous Senate hearing, former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong disclosed there were “rogue” cops involved in the drug-recycling modus called “Agaw Bato.”
He disclosed further details in an executive session with senators, which were eventually allowed to be made public.
The copy of the session’s transcript was transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte and the details might be made known during the continuation of the Senate investigation on Tuesday.
Gordon said the information Magalong told them involved 14 police officials, including some active high-ranking official, while some are already retired from service.
PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde was dragged into the issue as he was previously relieved as provincial director of Pampanga for command responsibility after his subordinates were accused of recycling illegal drugs.
Albayalde, however, denied speculations, explaining that the issue was also a “recycled” matter.
Three days before Magalong’s testimony, PDEA director general Aaron Aquino admitted that recycling of narcotics is still rampant among law enforcers, but he exempted his unit from the money-making scheme.
Aquino also bared an alleged “drug queen” who buys the recycled drugs from so called “ninja cops.” Subsequently, Manila Police District (MPD) director Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. named Guia Gomez-Castro as the “drug queen.”
“This is serious because they are trusted by the people, but they capture drugs then they themselves will proliferate it… that hurts the most… these are what we call traitors of our nation. They should be there to protect the people,” Gordon said.
The long “ninja cops” list is undergoing validation, while President Rodrigo Duterte is cross-validating the list with the help of the intelligence community, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go told media, as he added the President will bare the names of policemen in the list when he returns from a state visit in Russia.
Go said the President’s offer remains on rewards of “P500,000 for those captured alive, P1 million if dead and P2 million if the policeman will fight back” for the recovery of the rogue policemen in the list.
“It would be hard to battle it out against ninja cops,” Go explained to media regarding the higher bounty.
The senator shared he personally saw the long list of names submitted to the President.
“Upon his return from Russia, he plans to read the names of those involved,” he added. He said it is the right of Filipinos to know the names of those in the list.
Cover for ninjas
Gordon reiterated that the naming of the drug queen was just a diversionary tactic to cover the issue of the “ninja cops.”
“This should not come to pass. That’s why I am being very careful because this drug queen suddenly came out. Why was she allowed to go out? Was she not arrested? She has a lot of warrants of arrest, but she was able to escape. You can doubt that, and we will see if she was involved in these issues. Either she was avoiding or diverting or covering up something,” he said.
Last Saturday, Albayalde argued that the PNP was not diverting the issue, explaining that they are not the ones who floated the existence of the “drug queen.”
Gordon insisted the “ninja cop” issue should still be tackled during the Senate Blue Ribbon investigation, which was originally a probe on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law, as the erring officials were allegedly operating inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) based on the testimony of Magalong.
Fair process assured
“He said that the (ninja cops) have contacts there (NBP). Aside from that, they themselves are proliferating a huge amount of drugs. He (Magalong) said that he can’t tolerate it when he was still an official, but now that he is out of service, he can divulge it. It is still connected to GCTA,” Gordon said.
The senator previously said Albayalde and Magalong will be invited to the next Senate probe along with PDEA officials.
He guaranteed the Senate body will investigate and explained this will be an opportunity to clarify all the allegations thrown against law enforcers.
“I can assure you that what we are doing is fair. We’ve done our homework and we studied all our questions. We also acquired documents. At least this will enlighten the people on the incidents, and we want to encourage people to expose and arrest those who are liable,” he said.
In a speech in Davao City last 2016, Duterte admitted that law enforcement agencies, particularly the PDEA, PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are not working in one accord to validate the name of public officials who were allegedly involved in drug activities.
The President said that these law enforcers “seem to be fighting each other.”
With Hananeel Bordey