Senate confirms cover-up in P6.7-billion ‘shabu’ haul
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate panel investigating the irregularities surrounding what is touted to be the biggest seizure of illegal drugs in the country on Tuesday confirmed the “massive cover-up” of the alleged pilferage by police personalities concerned, including former and current high-ranking officials of the Philippine National Police.
During the Senate committee hearing on public order and dangerous drugs on Tuesday, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa repeatedly voiced his disgust over the persistent lies and inconsistencies by police officers under investigation of the seizure of 990 kilograms of “shabu” from a police anti-drug operative last year.
“I will order all of you to be detained for trying to stage a cover-up! You are doing a brazen cover-up of this case! No one believes your lies because you keep pointing fingers at one another!” Dela Rosa told police officers.
Dela Rosa’s committee is investigating allegations of an attempted cover-up in the arrest of Police Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo, who was traced to be the owner of 990 kilos of shabu worth P6.7 billion.
PNP anti-drug agents seized from Mayo’s possession a total of 990 kilos of the illegal substance from a wellness clinic in Tondo, Manila, in October 2022.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos earlier exposed what he described as a “massive cover-up” of Mayo’s arrest, releasing CCTV footage that showed the police officer being arrested and later being uncuffed and released.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Dela Rosa ordered the detention of another police officer, Capt. Jonathan Sosongco for allegedly lying under oath by repeatedly denying that he knew the identity of his informant who tipped him about Mayo.
Nonexistent informant “In the previous hearing, he told the committee that he was in touch with and he was handling the informant, but now he’s saying what he has custody of is only information, not the informant,” he told reporters after the hearing.
“He was telling us he was calling the informant, but when I asked to be given the number, he said he no longer has it. So he was really lying to his teeth,” he said.
Dela Rosa also accused the respondent police officers of allegedly trying to claim a cash reward for a successful operation, even though the alleged informant was nonexistent.
Senators called for the conduct of a lifestyle check on the police officers, who all denied owning offshore accounts supposedly for Chinese principals.
Senators Dela Rosa, Raffy Tulfo, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr., who took turns grilling Mayo on his source for the illegal drugs, showed exasperation as the beleaguered police officer repeatedly invoked his right against self-incrimination.
Dela Rosa and Estrada were heard blurting out expletives as the invited police officers gave evasive answers on how they came to know of Mayo’s dealings.
Tulfo also tried to quiz Mayo on allegations that he was serving as a “bagman” for high-ranking police officers, but to no avail.
Dela Rosa prodded Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., chief of the PNP, to give the public assurance that no police officers would ever be involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs.
“If you want to make sure that this does not happen again, you have to do this,” he said, thrusting a closed fist.