7 PDEA, PNP, customs men in drug trade – intel report
At least seven former and active duty police officers and one customs intelligence agent are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, according to an intelligence report released to the media by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Sept. 12 report marked “secret” was distributed in Malacañang on Tuesday night after the President told journalists there were some Philippine National Police officers who were “inventing” stories about Chinese nationals involved in drugs.
The “Special Report Re Involvement of High Ranking Law Enforcement Officials in the Country’s Illegal Drug Trade” said the PNP restructured its antidrug units four times, the last in 2017 after the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) was deactivated when some of its members were linked to the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside Camp Crame.
However, the report said, some officers appointed to the new antidrug units “were the same personalities” who later created a “pool of agents and personnel who are mostly corrupt and have already created networks with different drug lords across the country and abroad.”
It said these officers were deployed to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Bureau of Customs.
It named at least seven who were allegedly involved in the drug trade — retired police Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, dismissed Senior Supt. Leonardo Ramos Suan, Supt. Ismael Fajardo Jr., Supt. Lorenzo Bacia, Insp. Lito Pirote, Insp. Conrado Caragdag and SP04 Alejandro Liwanag.
The intelligence report from the President, however, provided information only about Fajardo, Acierto and customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban.
It said Guban has been placed under arrest by the Senate for contempt, perjury and “actual involvement” in the smuggling of P6.8 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) in August.
Fajardo, who was appointed PDEA deputy director, was dismissed from his post by its chief, Aaron Aquino, who told a House of Representatives inquiry on the shabu smuggling that he and Guban “had knowledge on the [shabu] shipments.”
The intelligence report from the President said Fajardo was also involved in “anomalous activities and operations” such as the wrongful arrest in 2016 of Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino and his Chinese informant.
It said Fajardo was known to be a “scorer,” or one who delivered accomplishments, but was actually a “recycler of drugs and fabricator of stories.”
‘For personal use’
“Instead of fully disclosing and surrendering the recovered drugs for purposes of inventory and disposal, he keeps some portions of it for personal use and/or reselling. At times, Fajardo and his group use those drugs to plant evidence or make a scenario for accomplishment,” it added.
The report said Acierto had the reputation of allegedly amassing wealth by recycling confiscated drugs and from money allegedly extorted from apprehended suspects, especially Chinese nationals.
Acierto headed the disbanded PNP-AIDG when one of its members officers killed the Korean businessman.
“Together with Fajardo, Acierto has maintained connections with various narcotic financiers and manufacturers inside and outside the country including those Chinese nationals who are incarcerated in different penitentiaries,” the report said.
While no details were provided on the activities of Bacia, Pirote, Caragdag, Suan and Liwanag, the report said they were part of Fajardo’s group involved in recycling drugs.
PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde ordered the officers named in the report relieved of their duties last week, according to PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana.
However, they will be given “due process,” which was “precisely the advice of the President,” Durana added. —With a report from Jaymee T. Gamil
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