DILG chief unveils ‘massive attempt to cover up’ dismissed cop Mayo’s arrest
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. on Monday revealed a “massive attempt to cover up” the arrest of dismissed Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo due to drug-related charges in 2022.
On Oct. 8, 2022, Mayo was apprehended during a Tondo, Manila anti-drug raid where 990 kg of P6.7 billion worth shabu was confiscated from him.
Abalos said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police discussed the drug case in February. Still, with no conclusive information, he authorized a fact-finding inquiry into Mayo and other officials’ roles in the seized drugs.
“The Fact-Finding Board has taken testimonies of several personalities and based on this and other pieces of evidence, including tapes, under the possession of the Board, it shows that there is indeed a massive attempt to cover up the arrest of Sgt. Mayo,” said Abalos in a press conference.
“Sa ngayon pa lang nakikita natin na may malawakang pag ko-coverup sa nangyaring ito, hindi tayo papayag na mabawi ito. Dapat managot ang mga taong ito at seryoso ang pamahalaan dito,” he added.
(Right now, we see a massive coverup of what happened. We will not allow this to happen. These people should be held accountable and the government should take this seriously.)
DILG displayed CCTV footage of Mayo’s arrest by several officers. Instead of leaving immediately, handcuffed Mayo and police entered a nearby building multiple times, transferring bags and luggage to various vehicles.
High-ranking officials, including Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibañez, Col. Michael Angelo C. Salmingo, Col. Julian Olonan, Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, and Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr., arrived and entered the establishment.
They were later seen conversing before Olonan and Salmingo joined Mayo in a vehicle. Mayo’s handcuffs were removed before finally exiting the premises.
“Ito’y ilan lamang sa hawak namin na ebidensya, this is just to corroborate upang palakasin lamang ang aming mga hawak na testimony,” said Abalos.
(This is just some of the evidence we hold, just to corroborate and strengthen our testimonies.)
Abalos message to involved cops
Meanwhile, after presenting the findings of the Fact-Finding Board, Abalos called on the involved police officers to take a leave of absence. Otherwise, the DILG will issue a preventive suspension against them.
“Dahil dito, para pangalagaan ang ebidensya at para hindi na makagalaw pa, minumungkahi ko na lahat ng taong nakita natin sa tape, ay mag-leave muna pending investigation. If not, they will be suspended pending investigation,” Abalos said.
(Because of this, to preserve the evidence and for them not to take irrelevant action, I suggest that all the people we saw in the tape take a leave of absence pending investigation. If not, they will be suspended pending investigation.)
The police officers shown in the recordings were:
1. Then-Deputy Chief PNP for Operations Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr.
2. PDEG director Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo
3. PDEG SOU 4A chief Col. Julian Olonan
4. PDEG SOU 4A Head Arrest Team Cpt. Jonathan S Sosongco (Head Arrest Team PDEG SOU AA)
5. PDEG SOU NCR OIC Lt. Col. Amulfo G Ibañez (OIC, PDEG SOU NCR),
6. PDEG SOU NCR Maj. Michael Angelo C. Salmingo
7. Quezon City Police District Lt. Col. Glenn C. Gonzales
8. PDEG Intelligence and Foreign Liaison Intelligence Officer Lt. Ashrap Amerol
9. Manla PO Moriones Station Commander Lt. Col. Harry Loronzo III
10. PDEG SOU 4A Intelligence Section chief Cpt. Randolph A Piñon
According to Abalos, these officers will only have until this week to file their leave of absence, or they will be suspended.
Furthermore, Abalos said that with the ongoing investigation, he believes the 10 mentioned officers are not the only police officers implicated in the drug operations.
“Hindi ako naniniwalang ito lang ang mga taong ito, malawak ito, mahabang laban ito,” said Abalos.
(I don’t believe it’s just these people; this is widespread and will be a long fight.)