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Cop in drug ring exposé in NBI custody

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A day after Police Officer 3 Alexander Saez publicly accused his fellow policemen of operating a drug syndicate right inside the Taguig City police station, he has just one thing on his mind: His family’s safety.

“I’m fine. I’m under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). But I ask President Benigno Aquino III to please protect my family,” Saez told the Philippined Daily Inquirer in a phone interview Tuesday.

In a media forum the other day, he said that he was afraid for his life after he was charged with libel in connection with an affidavit he recently executed in which he accused his superior, Taguig police chief Senior Supt. Tomas Apolinario, and nine other policemen of engaging in “drug recycling” or  the reselling of confiscated illegal drugs to pushers in the city.

His exposé prompted National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina to form an investigating team to look into his allegations Tuesday.

In a letter to Espina two months ago, Saez said that when he was assigned as an investigator to the Taguig police station’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group from May to October last year, he took part in the “drug recycling activities” along with Apolinario, Senior Insp. Jerry Amindalan, SPO2 Ernesto Sanchez, Police Officers 3 Noel Antillon Jr., Christopher Bonifacio, Joseph More, Elric Valle, Jowel Briones, Marvin Zata-Has and PO1 Jerry Balbin.

He added that during that period, he and the others made at least P5 million, with his take totaling around P200,000.

Saez, who joined the Philippine National Police in 1997, said he was eventually bothered by his conscience and wrote Espina because it was “the only right thing to do as a police officer, soldier of Christ and citizen.”

Apolinario and the other policemen, however, dismissed Saez’s allegations as “malicious and defamatory.” They also described him as “a disgruntled police officer” in the libel case they filed against him in the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office on Nov. 26.

They added that Saez was relieved from the team on Oct. 28, 2011, because he was “downgrading charges against suspects, unlawfully taking personal things during operations and falsifying the signatures of his superiors.”

But Saez denied he was acting out of “a personal grudge.” “What I say is true. I am not complaining, I am revealing information,” he said over the phone.

He added that he remained in active service with the Taguig police community precinct 11 and belied reports that he had been slapped a one-year suspension. According to him, he filed for a leave of absence on Nov. 26.

Espina, meanwhile, said that once the NCRPO receives a copy of Saez’s criminal complaint, it could be used as a basis for the conduct of administrative proceedings against Apolinario and his men.

“We will proceed objectively, factually, to ferret out the truth. I won’t allow anomalies but let us also not jump to conclusions. I want a fair trial,” he said in an interview.

“These are very serious allegations. We will have to dig deeper to see who is telling the truth,” he added in a statement.

An NBI official confirmed Tuesday that Saez was under the temporary custody of the bureau while it is investigating his complaint.

Lawyer Daniel Daganzo, head agent of the NBI Special Investigation Services, said the policemen sought protection from the bureau the other day.

“Saez is here and seeking protective custody, however, we are still assessing his case,” Daganzo said.

But he added that they have started looking into his allegations with subpoenas already sent out to those named in his affidavit, including Apolinario.

The NBI agent also said that Saez had turned over documents about the police syndicate to the bureau, including the supposed second police blotter.

Saez claimed that the police team maintained two blotters upon the order of Apolinario.

The first listed small cases while the other one contained records of crime cases, including drug-related incidents and reflected the real crime and order situation in Taguig, he added.

The second one was used to extort money from suspected drug dealers, he claimed.

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