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No bail for cop, cohort in P6.7B shabu haul in Tondo

November 4, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 343 views

A MANILA City court on Wednesday recommended “no bail” for the temporary liberty of a policeman and his civilian cohort arrested by agents of the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) during an anti-narcotics operation in Tondo, Manila which yielded an estimated P6.7 billion worth of shabu last October 8, the Journal Group learned on Friday.

PNP-DEG Director Brigadier General Narciso D. Domingo said that Judge Grace P. Chavez-Ty of the Manila City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 177 ordered that the police senior master sergeant and a civilian be held without bail for the sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The cop’s cohort is presently being held in a Manila Police District (MPD) lock-up facility while the police offer has been transferred to the maximum-security PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame on orders of PNP Chief Gen. Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. to ensure his protection from the syndicate.

Criminal information for violation of Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165 was filed before the Manila RTC Br. 177 by the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office last October 26 following a complaint by the PNP-DEG last October 12.

The Manila judge set the arraignment of the two via video conference hearing on Tuesday, November 8. However, she ordered the personal appearance in court of the prosecution witnesses and defense counsels, if any.

Azurin has ordered the PNP-DEG to build a “very tight case” against the accused to ensure their successful prosecution.

Under RA 9165, “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs regardless of the quantity and purity involved, carries the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million upon conviction.”

Possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, regardless of the quantity and purity involved, also carries the same penalty.

Azurin also said that there is an ongoing investigation into the reported “pilferage” of 42 kilograms of shabu worth P285.6 million by a group of policemen involved in the October 8 operation.

The top cop said he will make sure that officers and men involved in the said “drug pilferage” will be unmasked and charged in court with offenses that will result in their dismissal from the police service.

“This is part of our ongoing effort to finally stop cases of drug recycling. Right now, the investigation is ongoing, and we have not been mentioning any names. We don’t accuse anybody so far,” Azurin said.

Journal Group sources said that the 42 kilos of shabu were part of the more than 990 kilos of the prohibited drug recovered during the PNP-DEG-led anti-narcotics operation.

The PNP-DEG headed by Brig. Gen. Domingo has been ordered by Gen. Azurin to fully investigate the “pilferage case” with the help of an inter-agency task force.

Sources said that right after the PNP-DEG reported the major drug haul to the press, it received information that some officers involved in the October 8 operation hid a huge volume of the drug evidence.

An angry Domingo asked those responsible for the caper to immediately surrender the drugs or be hunted. Right after the stern warning was given, the 42 kilograms of shabu were returned to the PNP-DEG custody.

Following the incident, Azurin ordered a thorough probe into the matter. Domingo has also expelled a number of operatives outside of the PNP-DEG in connection with the anomaly.

Upon a request from Domingo, Azurin also immediately ordered the transfer to the maximum-security PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame of the detained police officer, who is also a PNP-DEG agent, and was arrested by his colleagues in connection with the major drug haul.

The cop was transferred to the Camp Crame jail to prevent the possibility he might be “silenced” by his fellow syndicate members to prevent him from squealing on them.

The 1st operation at Jose Abad Santos Street in Barangay 252 in Tondo, Manila led to the arrest of a civilian, a resident of Leon Guinto St. in Ermita, Manila. Confiscated during the operation were more than 900 kilos of shabu worth P6.7 billion.

A follow-up operation resulted in the arrest of the disgraced police officer who yielded two kilos of shabu worth P13.4 million.

“As I have said before, we will not tolerate any wrongdoings by any of our men. This is part of our ongoing massive internal cleansing program,” said Azurin.

Azurin said that the arrest of the cop is “proof” that their intensified cleansing program continues to be unrelenting and will spare nobody.

“We are intensifying our counter-intelligence operations versus erring policemen. But this drive is not to kill but to identify the gravity of some policemen’s involvement in illegal activities. I assure the public that there will be compromise here,” the top cop said.

Azurin said they want the arrested policeman to “reveal what he knows and identify his fellows.”

“We don’t care who will be hurt here. Ang dapat niyang gawin ay tulungan niya kami kasi kulong pa din naman siya habang-buhay dito,” the PNP chief said.

Azurin said that the captured cop will join the other policemen who will suffer the consequences of their illegal acts, thousands of them fired from the force already after being found guilty of serious charges hurled at them.

“He should have retired earlier para ma-enjoy niya ang benefits niya. Ngayon, pagdudusahan niya habang-buhay ang kasalanan niya sa kulungan. Wala pa siyang matatanggap na kahit anong benepisyo,” Azurin said.

The PNP chief has commended Domingo and his men for leading the major “intelligence-driven” operation, which ended up in a major drug bust.