‘Ninja cops’ exposé a big blow to antidrugs campaign – SHARP EDGES by JAKE J. MADERAZO
The revelations being made in marathon Senate hearings on “ninja cops” are inflicting serious damage on the credibility of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
It was in one of the hearings that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino (Philippine Military Academy Class 1985) first declared that there were policemen involved in the recycling of drugs and some of them were protecting an elusive drug queen in Sampaloc, Manila.
Former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, in an executive session, claimed that Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde (PMA Class ’86) intervened in the dismissal of 13 policemen who conducted a buy-bust operation in Mexico, Pampanga, on Nov. 29, 2013.
At that time, Albayalde was the Pampanga provincial police chief. More than 200 kilos of “shabu” (crystal meth) were confiscated in the operation but the raiding team, led by Police Maj. Rodney Baloyo, officially declared a haul of only 38 kilos. Some 160 kilos of shabu with a street value of P648 million went missing, while a P50-million bribe was supposedly given to the police group by Chinese national Johnson Lee, a suspected drug lord.
Magalong insisted it was impossible that Albayalde was unaware of his men’s actions. And for some reason, he was suspended only for several months on the principle of command responsibility. In 2014, the PNP, based on substantial evidence and testimonies, issued dismissal orders against the 13 Pampanga policemen involved in the operation.
When Duterte took over in 2016, the dismissal orders were released to the Police Regional Office (PRO) 3, then headed by Aquino, for implementation. After a call from Albayalde (then the head of the National Capital Region Police Office), Aquino chose not to implement the dismissal orders. As a “disciplinary measure,” he assigned the policemen to Mindanao.
In 2017, another member of the PMA Class ’86, Police Maj. Gen. Amador Corpus, took over the PRO 3 and like Aquino, he did not implement the dismissal orders and merely demoted the 13 policemen who, up to now, remain in the service. A few senior officers are under the wing of Police Brig. Gen. Ted Carranza, another PMA Class ’86 member and Calabarzon PRO 4A director.
The kid-glove treatment of alleged ninja cops is a direct affront to the President’s war on drugs. And sadly, the top officials of the PNP and the PDEA, the highest implementing agencies of the drug war, may be partly to blame.
Aquino did not implement the dismissal order against them. Corpus, the current CIDG director, demoted the policemen instead of dismissing them, while Carranza gave them high positions.
While there is no hard evidence to pin down Albayalde, it would be incredulous to believe otherwise. His men violated police procedures, lied in their reports and it would be impossible for him not to be in the know, including the subsequent maneuverings that followed.
An immediate and major revamp of the PNP and the PDEA leaderships is in order. Because very clearly, the whole country, including the President, feels betrayed.
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