Bilibid drugs: Bato vouches for SAF men blamed by Aguirre
While saying that he does not believe the allegations, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has ordered an investigation into the suspected connivance between members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) and some inmates behind the resurging drug trade inside New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
During a surprise visit to the state penitentiary in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday, Dela Rosa assured the over 400 SAF men assigned there of his faith in their integrity.
“It’s not that I believe the allegation but I need to address it because it is very serious. We are not fighting an ordinary organized crime syndicate. This is drugs, a billion-peso industry that is being destroyed by our efforts. So it is but normal that they would get back at us by destroying us,” Dela Rosa said.
When he asked the SAF troopers if they were involved in the resurgence of the drug trade at NBP as alleged by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, they replied in the negative.
According to Dela Rosa, he cancelled his morning commitments to address the “very serious allegation” against the unit, asking them: “If this is true, who can I depend on?”
“From the very beginning I told you, I can depend on nobody else at the PNP but you because you are the most disciplined. You are here to address the problem of illegal drugs at the NBP that is why I have strong confidence in you,” he said.
He informed them that he had ordered the Directorate for Intelligence and Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to look into Aguirre’s claim.
“I really hope that the allegation is wrong. In order to be fair to the accuser and in order to be fair to the accused, we must conduct an in-depth investigation… The institution may be ruined if it is true but we have to weed out whoever is involved,” Dela Rosa said.
He pointed out that those involved in the multibillion narcotics industry would always attempt to destroy the PNP. “So continue discharging your job. Even if you are sad. Even if your morale is low. Show everyone that you are professionals.”
“I have nobody to replace you with. All our troops are engaged in Mindanao so you have to hang on. You disprove the allegation,” Dela Rosa said.
Aguirre, meanwhile, turned to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for help in stemming the revival of the illegal drug trade at the NBP.
“I have said it before and I will say it again: We shall be relentless in fighting and eradicating the drug menace,” he said in a statement.
Aguirre ordered NBI director Dante Gierran to investigate and prepare possible criminal and administrative cases against the inmates and SAF commandos concerned.
He also directed Gierran to prepare a report on the actions taken by the NBI to implement his order.
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