Mayo won’t answer questions at hearing, says charges ‘made up’
MANILA, Philippines — Former Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo, the police anti-drug operative who was caught with at least 990 kilograms of crystal meth, or shabu, in an October 2022 operation, said the charges against him were merely made-up.
Mayo attended the House of Representatives Committee on Dangerous Drugs hearing on Wednesday virtually, but his answers have been few — opting several times to invoke his right against self-incrimination.
Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the committee chair, said to him in a mix of Filipino and English: “Sergeant Mayo, maybe you can answer this very simple question: What were the charges filed against you?”
“Moro-moro [a made-up case], Your Honor,” Mayo replied.
“Can you tell us more about what kind of moro-moro cases you are referring to?” Barbers went on.
“I invoke my right to remain silent, Your Honor,” Mayo said.
“Oh. We were not the ones who said moro-moro. It was you who said moro-moro,” Barbers said.
After this exchange, Mayo again invoked his right to refrain from answering questions — leading the lawmakers to turn their attention to Ney Atadero, another inmate who was present virtually.
Atadero is the suspect first arrested during the operation on Oct. 8, 2022, according to police reports and accounts from Philippine National Police (PNP) resource persons present at Wednesday’s hearing.
Mayo was arrested next, followed by the raid at the former cop’s WPD Lending office in Tondo, Manila.
Atadero also invoked his right to self-incrimination, but Batangas 2nd District Rep. Gerville Luistro was able to obtain the information that the drug suspects had been coached.
“Mr. Atadero, who taught you about this right against self-incrimination?” Luistro asked.
“‘My lawyer,” Atadero answered.
Antipolo 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop meanwhile said he would like to have Mayo and Atadero present during the House panel’s next hearing, saying that he could observe the nuances that the suspects would make when faced with questions.
Acop is a former police officer who used to head the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Barbers expressed concern about the way Mayo was handling the questions, saying: “It seems we cannot get any information from Sergeant Mayo and Atadero. But what is appalling is the fact that when we asked questions to Sergeant Mayo, he answered them without batting an eyelash — to the point that he even stated that this is a made-up case.”
“It is not for the committee to decide what that case is, but we know that criminal charges have been filed. In fact, admin[istrative] cases were already decided earlier. Sergeant Mayo has already been dismissed,” he added.
Earlier, Acop lamented that the police seem to have not done much investigation on how Mayo was able to obtain a bigger amount of illegal drugs compared to drug lords caught in various operations.
Such an issue, he said, should merit an investigation by the PNP and other law enforcement agencies.
The House panel is probing the incident, which has garnered controversy after Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. alleged that a cover-up was planned by high-ranking PNP officials.
Instead of being arrested, Mayo was seen without handcuffs — as shown in closed-circuit television camera footage obtained and shared during the House hearing and previous press conferences. But relieved PNP Drug Enforcement Group chief Gen. Narciso Domingo maintained that there was no attempt to cover up the issue.