PDEA chief retracts, says Albayalde asked him not to enforce order vs 13 ‘ninja cops’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 4, 2019   •   490

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino has admitted that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde had asked him not to enforce the dismissal order against 13 Pampanga policemen who were tagged as ‘ninja cops.’

Aquino earlier said in a previous Senate hearing that Albayalde called him in 2016 to ask about the status of the case against the cops.

The 13 cops were ordered dismissed for their alleged involvement in a controversial anti-drug operation.

Albayalde, who was then the head of Pampanga provincial police, was relieved from his post for command responsibility.

In a hearing Thursday, the PDEA chief claimed that in the same phone conversation, Albayalde requested him not to implement the order.

“General Albayalde called me up to know that status of the case of (Police Supt. Rodney) Baloyo and others, it’s the truth. He also added during the same request and I quote: ‘Sir, baka puwede niyo munang hindi i-implement ang order.’ Then I asked him, ‘Bakit Oca?’ Where he answered ‘Kasi mga tao ko sila,’” Aquino said.

The dismissal order for the 13 alleged ‘ninja cops’ were issued on Nov. 14, 2014 but it was only in March 2016 that the accused received a copy of the order and were able to file for a motion for reconsideration.

A decision partially granting the cops’ plea was issued in Oct. 17, 2017.

Albayalde, however, denied Aquino’s claim and maintained that he only asked for the status and did not intervene in the case.

He also expressed willingness to reopen the investigation on the case.

“You cannot implement a dismissal while the MR is ongoing. That’s basic,” he said.

“Walang nag-iba sa desisyon. That call for the status is pretty normal,” he added.

In response to Albayalde’s denial Aquino said, “Maybe, he cannot recall what he said. Pero ‘yun ang nare-recall ko na nasabi niya sa akin.”

Following his revelation on ‘ninja cops’ issue, Aquino told the Senate panel he has been receiving death threats targeting his family.

“I was thinking of my family who is now put in much deeper danger. A few days ago, I received a phone call from my friend who confirmed that some personalities are plotting against my family,” he said.

Former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benajmin Magalong also previously revealed he has been getting death threats after he named several cops allegedly engaging in the scheme of recycling or reselling illegal drugs seized during operation.

“His family is in danger so ganun din ang nangyayari sa akin ngayon. Kung ano ang nangyayari kay General Magalong ganun din nangyayari sa akin,” Aquino said.

Among those tagged as ‘ninja cops’ were Baloyo, Senior Insp. Joven de Guzman, Senior Police Officers 1 Jules Maniago, Donaldo Roque, Rommel Vital, Ronald Santos, Eligio Valeroso, Alcindor Tinio, Police Officers 3 Romeo Guerrero Jr., Dante Dizon, Dindo Dizon, Gilbert de Vera and Police Officer 2 Anthony Lacsamana.

The 13 police officers are currently on floating status. – RRD (with details from Correspondent April Cenedoza)

Lacson backs appointment of Villanueva as PDEA chief

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday lauded the appointment of Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

In a statement, Lacson described Villanueva as a “good and professional officer who is fit for the job,” and noted his “long career in drug enforcement.”

“The President couldn’t have appointed a more qualified head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, having served our country for nearly 20 years with the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and with the PDEA,” he said.

Lacson, a former national police chief, expressed confidence that Villanueva can handle his task of going after drug suspects amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the challenge of going after drug personalities amid the new normal posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he indeed has his work cut out for him,” he said.

“I look forward to working with him, being the Senate Finance Subcommittee Chair and Sponsor of the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) budgets, among others,” he added.

Villanueva will take over the post previously held by Aaron Aquino, who was assigned by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Clark International Airport.

Prior to his designation to PDEA’s top post, Villanueva led the PDEA Northern Mindanao.

Wilkins Villanueva is new PDEA Director General

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2020

Wilkins Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), replacing the agency’s outgoing chief Aaron Aquino.

Villanueva, who was assigned as PDEA Region 10 director prior to this appointment, served as the agency’s National Capital Region (NCR) chief.

He also served as head of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) intelligence and investigation service.

In his social post, Villanueva expressed his gratitude to the President for trusting him to lead the country’s war on drugs.

“I will never fail you, Mr. President!” he wrote.

He also thanked Senator Bong Go and former PNP Chief Senator Ronald dela Rosa for the encouragement and support. 

Meanwhile, there was no mention of the nature of Aquino’s departure from the agency.

Nonetheless, he thanked President Duterte for the opportunity to serve.

“I sincerely thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his trust and confidence and for giving me the opportunity to serve our people and his administration,” Aquino said.

Duterte appointed Aquino to PDEA in August 2017.

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Two suspects nabbed for selling injectable shabu online

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 20, 2020

Two men were arrested by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after they were caught selling illegal drugs in Mandaluyong City on Thursday (February 20).

A member of PDEA posed as a buyer and, after confirming the illegal activity, authorities arrested Mark Kenneth San Juan and Jeffrey Saclao.

Authorities seized 26 syringes of suspected liquid shabu with an estimate of P52,000. They also seized one sachet of suspected shabu worth around P13,600.

According to PDEA Spokesperson Derrick Carreon, the suspects are also selling drugs online based on their social media accounts.

Carreon also said the suspects target the youth using social media. He also warned about the negative effects of using drugs.

“So, maaari po talagang mangyari sa inyo ang mga hindi kanais-nais na mga bagay apart from the fact na it leads to (Bad things can happen to you apart from the fact that it leads to) the spread of several infectious diseases,” he said.

PDEA has taken custody of the two suspects and will face charges for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. —AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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