NBI probes cops in drug matrix
The National Bureau of Investi- gation (NBI) has started a parallel probe on the alleged involvement of ranking police officials in the illegal- drug trade as recently revealed by President Duterte. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday ordered NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct a fact-finding investigation to validate and build cases from the intelligence report that implicated officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) in supposed “recycling” of seized methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and in the operations of drug syndicates.
“I have instructed (Gierran) to conduct the parallel investigation to confirm and supplement, if necessary, the intelligence report submitted to the President,” Guevarra told in an interview.
“If the evidence warrants, the NBI will file a formal complaint with the DOJ (Department of Justice) for preliminary investigation,” Guevarra explained.
Guevarra added that prosecutors may apply for precautionary hold departure order, created by the Supreme Court earlier this year to replace the watchlist order previously being issued by the DOJ to prevent the flight of subjects in criminal investigation.
On Tuesday last week, Duterte showed the results of a special report on the alleged involvement of law enforcement officials in illegal drugs.
Duterte said the special report, dated Sept. 12, came from the intelligence network.
Among the PNP officials tagged in the report are Senior Supt. Leonardo Suan, Supt. Lorenzo Bacia, Insp. Lito Pirote, Insp. Conrado Caragdag and Senior Police Officer 4 Alejandro Liwanag.
The report included former Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto and former PDEA deputy director general for administration Ismael Gonzales Fajardo Jr., as well as Jimmy Guban, a BOC Intelligence and Investigation Service official who was recently tagged in the P6.8-billion shabu shipment that reportedly slipped past the bureau.
The report tagged Fajardo for allegedly “recycling” seized drugs. Fajardo was reportedly relieved from his post two days after the report was submitted to Malacañang.
Fajardo allegedly kept portions of seized illegal drugs instead of fully disclosing and surrendering them for inventory and disposal; he kept portions for personal use or for reselling, the report added.
The report also said Fajardo and his group would sometimes plant evidence, using the drugs, or make a “scenario for accomplishment.”
According to the report, Fajardo supposedly justified selling confiscated drugs by saying drug operatives did not have enough funds to carry out large-scale operations. The report also said Fajardo “bleeds” suspects of resources so they would not be able to hire lawyers, bribe judges or influence others who could reveal the modus operandi.
The report also said Fajardo was taking orders from Acierto, who was dismissed from service for various anomalies.
The report added that this practice of recycling seized drugs has been tolerated by Fajardo’s colleagues in the PNP anti-illegal drugs group, which includes Acierto, Suan, Bacia, Pirote, Caragdag and Liwanag.
The report tagged Acierto as “the mentor and considered to be the one from whom (Fajardo) takes orders (when) it comes to anti-narcotics operations.”
The report said like Fajardo, Acierto had fabricated stories and planted evidence, particularly drugs, which were recycled from previous operations.
Acierto was also involved in the alleged anomalous procurement of more than 1,000 AK-47 rifles, which reportedly ended up in the hands of the New People’s Army.
The report alleged that Guban collected monthly tara or grease money from the owners of warehouses that he would raid.
Meanwhile, Malacañang is not keen on releasing the names of politicians in Duterte’s narco list ahead of the campaign period for the May 2019 midterm elections.
Newly-designated presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said the premature release of the narco-list would violate due process.
“That’s the call of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) but you cannot just disqualify on the basis of suspicion,” Panelo said.
Upon his arrival yesterday from Bali, Indonesia where he attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Leaders’ Gathering, Duterte said he would not “telegraph” the government’s campaign.
At a press conference in Davao City early Friday morning, Duterte said he sees no reason to publicize the narco-list of government officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has announced that it would move for the disqualification of politicians included in the drug list to prevent them from participating in the elections next year.
There are about 93 local officials, including 58 mayors, reportedly included in the government’s narco list.
DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said the agency plans to submit the list to the Comelec after the period of filing of certificates of candidacy. –