NBI probes cops in drug ma­trix

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By EDU PUNAY The STAR With Christina Mendez

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.

Narco-list

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. –

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