Ex-PNP chief not yet off the hook in multi-billion shabu bust — Dela Rosa
MANILA, Philippines — It’s too early to say whether or not former Philippine National Police chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. can be cleared of possible involvement in the alleged cover-up in the multi-billion shabu haul in Manila last year, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said on Wednesday.
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, headed by dela Rosa is probing the case.
“He’s not yet off the hook,” he said in an interview with reporters at the Senate.
Dela Rosa, himself a former PNP chief, said he has reason to believe some higher-ranking PNP officials enabled the police officers accused of covering up the seizure of an estimated P6.7 billion worth of shabu last October.
The anti-illegal drug operation had led to the arrest and eventual dismissal from the police force of Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr., an intelligence officer of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.
Dela Rosa noted that Mayo’s direct superior — now-sacked PNP Drug Enforcement Group chief Narciso Domingo — may still make new claims regarding the case in the next Senate hearing.
“Si Domingo, meron ding tinatago pa. Hindi pa completely talaga nating masasabi na lahat ng sinasabi niya ay [totoo],” he said.
(Domingo is still hiding something. We can’t completely say that everything he’s been saying is true.)
Dela Rosa said that Azurin has since confirmed that the only directive he gave was for the conduct of a follow-up anti-drug operation.
The shabu mess hit Azurin just weeks before he stepped down as PNP chief. But Azurin has rejected claims of an attempt to cover up or absolve Mayo from his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
He, however, said the PNP’s investigation into the controversy has “opened a can of worms” about the deep roots of illegal drugs in the national police force.
In the Senate’s investigation, police officers invoked their right to remain silent when questioned by the lawmakers.
This prompted the Senate to hold at least seven police officers, including Mayo, in contempt.
Mayo has been detained at the Metro Manila District Jail since December.
Once released, dela Rosa asked the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to call the Senate so the beleaguered former policeman could be taken under the chamber’s custody.