Olongapo cop ‘administratively relieved’ over viral buy-bust operation
OLONGAPO CITY –– The police station commander in this city was administratively relieved from his post on Monday, days after the controversial drug buy-bust operation that was caught on video and had gone viral on social media.
Brig. Gen. Valeriano De Leon said Captain Walter Primero, officer-in-charge of Police Station 4 here, was removed from his position pending the result of the investigation on the possible lapses in the operation of its local drug enforcement unit on Jan. 3.
“We are continuously gathering all information relevant to the said video to find out the truth and unearth the facts surrounding the incident as we do not condone any unlawful demeanor perpetrated by our members,” said De Leon said in a statement.
Primero and two of his men were seen dragging a drug suspect identified as Nesty Gongora into a car while they were being surrounded by Gongora’s relatives, who were trying to intervene. The three policemen were in civilian clothes.
Gongora’s relatives said policemen initially told them that the suspect was being accosted for not wearing a face mask. The supposed buy-bust operation was also not caught on video.
But the police said it was a legitimate anti-narcotics operation and that the suspect yielded sachets of “shabu” (crystal meth). De Leon said that Gongora later tested positive for drug use and would face charges for violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The suspect’s relatives, who intervened during the operation, would also be charged with obstruction of justice, direct assault upon agents of persons in authority, and violation of quarantine protocols.
De Leon said he guaranteed that there would be no whitewash in the investigation.
“I vow not to tolerate my personnel’s mistakes if the allegations are proven true, and we assure everyone that appropriate punishment will be meted as warranted by the evidence,” De Leon said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.