MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino admitted on Monday that drug recycling remains rampant in the Philippines amid the government’s ongoing war against illegal drugs.
Aquino made the admission when he faced senators to defend PDEA’s proposed P2.497-billion budget for 2020.
The PDEA chief said unscrupulous agents of the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies are commonly involved in drug recycling.
“Ang usual na nagiging modus when they seized drugs maybe half of that will be surrendered yun ang ipalalabas nila na yun lang ang na seized nila. The other ones are being kept for future operations or the worst of it is they sell the drugs,” Aquino said.
“Pwedeng pang-plant sir or all other kinds of preparations,” he further stated in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s question on whether these illegal drugs are also used in planting evidence in anti-drug operations.
Aquino also revealed they are currently pursuing a female drug lord who has been buying confiscated drugs from government agents.
“Mayroon tayong drug queen dito sa Manila na ginagawa lang ay bumibili ng drugs coming from law enforcement agencies… ‘Pag pumunta ka doon… nagbebenta ka kahit 10 to 20 kilo benta mo, no questions asked bibilhin nila kahit magkano presyo,” he said.
He, however, refused to name the said female drug lord.
“I-neutralize muna naming ang drug queen na ito,” he said.
Following Aquino’s revelation, Lacson said the use of body cameras during anti-drug operations should become mandatory to prevent such incidents.
“When you join the operation at hindi nag-function ang body cam, dapat may automatic sanction, medyo puro alibi ang technical problem,” he said.
Aquino also said that high-profile drug convicts inside the national penitentiary are still involved in illegal drug trading.
“Mayroon kaming taped conversation with a drug lord inside the Bucor, by kilo sir, initially sir she is asking if how much is 10 kilos at sabi ng drug lord, he can give it at P1.3 million per kilo,” he said.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has urged Aquino to present a detailed report and evidence to support his claims.
“Mahirap ‘yung puro lang tayo can door wala tayong leg to stand sa ganung accusation. Sana mayroon kang report para masabi natin sino yang pulis na nagre-recycle para I will call the attention of the chief PNP,” he said.
Meanwhile, PDEA also raised concern over the P22 billion worth of confiscated illegal drugs that are yet to be destroyed as these are still being used as court evidence.
Lacson said they will invite Supreme Court officials to the next hearing on Monday to discuss the matter.
“We will plead with the Supreme Court to put down judges who refuse to abide by the law that within 72 hours kailangan masira na ang mga drugs na na-confiscate,” he said. RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Casin)
MANILA, Philippines – Senate blue ribbon committee chair Senator Richard Gordo said they are likely to recommend charges of graft and corruption, negligence and conspiracy against resigned PNP chief Oscar Albayalde.
Gordon noted the testimony of retired general Rudy Lacadin in the previous Senate hearing which accused Albayalde of benefiting from the drug recycling controversy in Pampanga as among the main factors for the possible lawsuit against the former PNP Chief.
So even after Albayalde relinquished his position, he is not yet off the hook, according to Gordon.
“Neglect of duty, life sentences,” Gordon said.
Senator Bong Go likewise agreed that if Albayalde is found guilty of participation in the drug recycling controversy, he should be held liable in court.
“Kung may ebidensya, managot ang dapat managot (If there is evidence then he who is liable should be sued),” the senator added.
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Albayalde no longer has the chance to clear his name because of his resignation.
Gordon believes that the testimony of former police officer Ronald Santos will shed light as to how Albayalde and the 13 ninja cops profited from the seized illegal drugs and from the vehicles used in the operations in 2013.
He considers Santos as the missing link towards the resolution of the case.
The senator said there should be strict monitoring now in the PNP which should include even the replacement of Albayalde in the PNP chief position.
“Ang kinakailangan lang ang magpapatakbo ay mahigpit. Kahit na pulis iyan, kaagad dapat ang mismong pulis, suspended ka na at ang imbestigasyon tapusin kaagad,” Gordon said.
(The chief must have an iron fist. Even if it involves a cop, that police must be suspended and the investigation should be promptly completed.)
Despite the suspension of the Senate session, Gordon said he wants his committee to push through with the inquiry this week.
Lost “moral high ground“
The former PNP chief’s accuser, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, believes the mounting pressure compelled Albayalde to resign and such gesture provided a breather for the institution to move on.
“Sa tingin ko nararamdaman na rin niya ang pressure lalong lalo na sa kaniyang mga subordinates (I think he already felt the pressure especially from his subordinates),” the former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief said.
“Ikaw ba naman, hindi ka na rin gaanong pinapansin, anong mararamdaman mo? (If it were you being ignored, how would you feel?) So you lost the moral high ground to lead. Pinakamabuting gagawin ay mag-resign (The best that you can do is to resign),” Magalong added.
Magalong stressed, however, that what happened to Albayalde should not cause the public to lose trust in the PNP.
“Kokonti lang po yung may kalokohan na iyan (Only a few cops can be considered scalawags),” he said.
“Magtiwala lang tayo sa ating kapulisan, (Let us trust our police force,)” he added.
The former police officer, meanwhile, said he is ready should Albayalde decide to file countercharges against him. MNP (with details from Grace Casin, Nestor Torres, and Grace Doctolero)
MANILA, Philippines – It can be considered a national disappointment if the so-called ‘ninja cops’ will not be charged in court.
This is the belief of Senate blue ribbon committee chair Senator Richard Gordon on the drug recycling fiasco that implicated former Philippine National Police (PNP) now resigned Police General Oscar Albayalde.
Accusers in the case pointed at Albayalde as the protector of scalawag policemen involved in the ‘agaw-bato’ scandal in 2013 when he was still the regional director of Pampanga.
According to Gordon, this is the right time for President Rodrigo Duterte to prove his impartiality to the Filipino people by filing charges even against those whom he considered as his ‘most trusted’ such as Albayalde, once they are involved in corruption or in any irregularity in the government.
For its part, the Palace expressed full support should anyone files charges against Albayalde especially if there is strong evidence against him.
“The president is the number one enforcer of the law. So if there is evidence against any wrongdoing, then it behooves the government to file and prosecute,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Meantime, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is now conducting an investigation to determine Albayalde’s administrative liability on the matter.
The President himself said he will wait for the result of the DILG’s investigation and hear out their recommendation on the issue.
Should the evidence against Albayalde turn out strong, he might face criminal charges as well.
“It’s the prosecutor who will determine the existence of the probable cause,” Panelo added.
Meanwhile, the President has no name yet to announce as to Albayalde’a replacement for the position of PNP Chief.
As of this writing, President Duterte is having a command conference with the leadership of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). –MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the controversy implicating him in the drug recycling scheme involving ninja cops, outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Oscar Albayalde on Monday (October 14) announced his decision to step down from his post.
“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as chief (of the) PNP effective today and go on a non-duty status,” he said in a statement.
“I have submitted my letter of intent to Secretary Año which he accepted and favorably endorsed to the President,” he added.
In the statement, Albayalde said he had a conversation with Department of the Interior and Local Government(DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año about the Senate investigation on the ‘agaw bato’ operation that happened in 2013 to which he is being linked as he was the provincial police director of Pampanga during that time.
Albayalde said Año accepted his letter of intent to resign from his post which the DILG Secretary accepted and endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Albayalde was supposed to retire on his 56th birthday on November 8, 2019 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age.
He said his non-duty status “will pave the way for the appointment of (his) replacement” in the PNP.
With this development, Police Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa is expected to take over as the PNP’s officer in charge. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)
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