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Barbers wants deep probe into ‘coddlers, financiers’ of anti-drug cop
SURIGAO del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers has urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to fast-track its ongoing investigations on the case of a PNP intelligence and anti-drug officer arrested and implicated in the storage of nearly a ton of shabu worth P6.7 billion in October last year in Manila.
Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said the suspect could not have acted alone in his illegal activities, and there is an urgent need to ascertain who were his coddlers, protectors, or financiers.
“The current investigations being conducted by a PNP special investigation task group (SITG) created for the purpose have not come out with any substantial evidence or leads on (the suspect’s) case six months after he was arrested,” he said.
“Why is it that said PNP SITG is foot-dragging or dilly-dallying on their probe? Are they covering up for something we don’t know, or are they still trying to make up a different script about his arrest and involvement in shabu stockpiling and possibly for recycling?” Barbers asked.
Barbers said that while the suspect has a right to due processes of the law, he has not heard an update from the PNP about the status of his administrative or criminal cases except for saying “the case is still under investigation” – six months after it transpired.
“Nais ko, pati na siguro ng taong-bayan, na malaman kung ano na ang latest update sa kaso… Alam naman natin na hindi makakagalaw (ang suspek) mag-isa sa kanyang illegal na gawain. Gusto rin natin malaman kung ang nakumpiskang shabu sa Tondo ay mga naipon sa past anti-drug operations o ang mga ito’y bagong delivery from China,” the solon from Mindanao said.
“(The suspect), for all we know, owns a lending institution catering to police officers. This is despite receiving a monthly salary of only P34,079; is he the sole proprietor of his business, which many believe is a convenient cover for his illegal drug activities?” He asked.
According to PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., a “ranking police official,” whom he did not identify and is under investigation, was responsible or who has acted as a “backer” for bringing the suspect back to PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG).
Earlier, Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, director of the PNP-DEG, said the first buy-bust operation was conducted and resulted in the apprehension of a 50-year-old resident of Ermita, Manila, and the discovery of 890 kilos and 102 grams worth P6.7 billion. The shabu haul was reportedly stored inside a money lending office owned by the suspect.
A follow-up operation led later to the apprehension of the police officer who was caught allegedly in possession of two kilos of suspected shabu worth P13.6 million. Police reports failed to indicate where and on what date the suspect was arrested in the follow-up operation.
Domingo said the suspect had no derogatory record before being arrested on Saturday night in Manila.
But Senator Ronald dela Rosa revealed later that the police officer was allegedly among the “ninja cops,” or police officers involved in the illegal drug trade, whom he reassigned to Mindanao in 2016 when he was PNP chief.
Dela Rosa expressed concern about how the suspect was reassigned to the PNP-DEG despite his background and was once recognized as “the best policeman” of the same PNP office.
Reports coming from the PNP allegedly stated that the suspect was “re-projected” as a PNP-DEG intelligence officer and served on his post, until his arrest, during the time of former PNP chiefs, Generals Archie Gamboa, Camilo Cascolan, Debold Sinas, Guillermo Eleazar, Dionardo Carlos, Vicente Danao, and Rodolfo Azurin Jr.