The Philippine National Police (PNP) had separate case operations against two wanted criminals—rearrested drug lord Li Lan Yan, alias Jackson Dy, and Ozamiz gang leader Ricky Cadavero. But both cases left the PNP on the defensive mode.
Chief Supt. Frank Uyami, head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), told the Inquirer by phone on Saturday that his team had concentrated on rearresting Dy after they established leads to the hideout of the drug lord and his wife who escaped from custody in February.
Uyami said he was unaware that the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) police, headed by regional director Chief Supt. Benito Estipona, was hot on the trail of Cadavero and his right hand man, Wilfredo Panogalinga Jr.
The INQUIRER sought Uyami’s reaction to the statement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that she had reason to believe the recapture of Li and his wife and the alleged rubout of Cadavero and Panogalinga were related.
It was Cadavero’s criminal group that sprung Li, his wife and Li Tian Hua in Cavite last February.
“There was no coordination, no case conference (with Estipona and the Calabarzon police),” Uyami said.
“Our operation against Jackson Dy was a totally independent, separate effort from Police Regional Office 4A,” Uyami said.
The Calabarzon police ended up being investigated for the alleged rubout of Cadavero and Panogalinga while Uyami’s men were accused of stealing cash and illegal drugs found in Li’s safehouse last week.
The allegations of wrongdoings against policemen had PNP Director General Alan Purisima wondering why the criminals now appeared to be the “heroes.”
While he defended the CIDG men, saying that they were good operatives who got the job done, Purisima still ordered an investigation into the allegation against them made by a man who claimed to be part of the raiding team.
Uyami said the accusation against his men had left the others with “low morale.”
It even derailed a follow-up operation the CIDG had planned against illegal drug syndicates.
“There’s supposed to be a part two of our operations,” Uyami said.
Meanwhile, a police intelligence officer who said he was ordered by his superiors to get the phone numbers of the relatives of Cadavero was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at the gang leader’s wake late Friday evening.
Lawyer Zaldy Rivera of the NBI Death Investigation Division said PO3 Richard Ecleo Ebrada was arrested after he misrepresented himself as a member of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Ebrada later admitted he was a member of the police intelligence division ordered by Chief Supt. Abelardo Villacorta to obtain the contact information of Cadavero’s sister.