Gordon asks DOJ to ‘perpetuate’ testimonies of ‘ninja cops’ probe witnesses
MANILA, Philippines — “Just in case something happens to them,” Senator Richard Gordon has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to perpetuate the testimonies of three Pampanga cops and barangay officials who earlier faced the Senate inquiry into the controversial November 2013 drug sting in Mexico town.
Speaking with reporters in a phone patch interview at the Senate on Wednesday, Gordon explained that perpetuating the testimonies of the said witnesses would mean that they would go to court and execute their affidavit there.
“In this case, if anything happens—hopefully not—that will be admissible in court,” Gordon, who is leading the Senate investigation into the “ninja cops” controversy, said.
“I just spoke with Secretary (Menardo Guevarra) of the DOJ and I asked him…I want their testimonies perpetuated just in case something happens to them,” Gordon further said.
The three Mexico town policemen (Police Staff Sergeants Jerome Bugarin, Marlon dela Cruz, and Jackson Mariano) as well as the barangay officials were the first to get a hold of Johnson Lee, an alleged drug trafficker who was arrested during the controversial 2013 operation.
Before Lee was arrested, he was able to escape the raid conducted by the 13-men team led by Supt. Rodney Baloyo IV in November 2013 at the Woodbridge Subdivision in Mexico, Pampanga.
The anti-drug operation supposedly yielded 38 kilograms of “shabu” (crystal meth) and a “substantial” amount of cash.
But when the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), led by its former chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, conducted an investigation into the raid, it was found that the raid yielded 200 kilograms of shabu and not 38 kilograms as earlier reported.
Aside from the seized drugs, Magalong told the Senate panel in a previous hearing that Lee had paid P50 million in exchange for his freedom.
Because of this, Baloyo’s group presented a different suspect, Ding Wenkun.
‘Like a mafia story’
“That is just taking extraordinary diligence,” Gordon said referring to his move to ask the DOJ to perpetuate the testimonies of the said witnesses.
“They could be in danger, it’s almost like a mafia story, ‘di ba? Titipokin niyo ang testigo, e ‘di mawawala na yung cover-up, tatakutin (‘yung mga testigo),” he pointed out.
Gordon, meanwhile, said that placing the three policemen and the barangay officials under the witness protection program (WPP) would be up to the discretion of the DOJ, who he said would “do what it feels is in the best interest of the witnesses and…successful prosecution of the case.”
“I want to assure them that they would be given protection, In fact I’m going to ask na-ma-protect din yang mga yan,” Gordon said.
“I’ll leave that to the discretion of Secretary Guevarra. But if I were him, I would do it (place witnesses under WPP),” he added. /muf
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