House inquiry to hear accused cops – Barbers
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers assured concerned police officers on Saturday that the House probe beginning April 26 on the controversial P6.7-billion drug haul in October last year would observe due process as demanded by alumni of the Philippine National Police Academy.“Of course, I agree that there should be due process in the investigation of the very controversial issue. The evidence and the videos will not lie, but there could be other interpretations of the video,” Barbers told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Barbers, chair of the House committee on dangerous drugs, said that more than 40 police officers tagged in the controversy were summoned to the committee hearing to investigate the seizure of P6.7 billion in crystal meth, or shabu, in October last year.
The police found 990 kilograms of shabu, the second largest drug haul in the country, in a storage facility registered in the name of a lending company owned by Police Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.Subsequent investigations and operations implicated 12 commissioned police officers and 37 noncommissioned officers, particularly after investigators found 42kg missing from the seized stash.
In a paid full-page advertisement, entitled “In Search For Truth,” in the Inquirer on Saturday, the PNP Alumni Association Inc. (PNPAAI) lamented how a number of police officials have been “unfairly dragged … before the bar of public opinion without considering the primacy of the constitutional precept of due process.”
Citing the P6.7-billion drug haul specifically, the PNPAAI also asked that the media not be used as a “forum for baseless, unfounded and unsupported allegations of crime against individuals until the required quantum of evidence has been obtained,” adding that the “PNP knows there is no substitute for due process.”
But Barbers said that evidence found and investigations conducted by the PNP itself appeared to be “in sync” with the declared belief of Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos “there seems to be a coverup” of Mayo’s arrest and the reported pilferage of shabu.