50 cops sued over P 6.7-billion ‘shabu’ haul irregularities
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 50 police personnel, including high-ranking officials, were named respondents in the criminal complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman for their involvement in the controversial anti-drug operation last year that led to the seizure of 990 kilos of “shabu” (crystal meth) worth P6.7 billion.
In a presser on Tuesday, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said the Philippine National Police and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) filed the complaint on Friday afternoon against the 50 personnel for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and RA 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous and Drugs Act of 2002.
They were also found liable for falsification, perjury, false testimony, and malversation of public property. They were also charged with obstruction of justice.
Abalos, chair of the Napolcom, said they were optimistic about the developments on the case, which aims to weed out cops with drug links from the PNP and clean up the police organization’s image.
“The Napolcom and the [PNP Special Investigation Task Group 990] have gone through everything — the testimonies, the pieces of evidence — and we really saw many lapses in the operation. We collated all the information which served as the basis of the complaint filed before the Ombudsman,” Abalos told a press conference at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) head office in Quezon City.2 generals Napolcom vice chair and executive officer Alberto Bernardo said that 12 of the 50 respondents were commissioned officers.
Two were generals: Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr., former deputy chief for operations, the third-highest official in the PNP; and Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, former director of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG).
Other ranking officials named were Col. Julian Olonan, chief of DEG Special Operations Unit (SOU) Region 4A; Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibañez, the officer in charge of DEG SOU-National Capital Region; Lt. Col. Glenn Gonzales of Quezon City Police District; Maj. Michael Angelo Salmingo, deputy of PDEG SOU NCR; Lt. Jonathan Sosongco, head of the DEG SOU 4A arresting team.
Also named respondents were ranking officials of DEG: Lt. Col. Dhefry Punzalan; Lt. Jeffrey Padilla; Lt. Randolph Piñon; Lt. Silverio Bullester II; and Lt. Ashrap Amerol.
Except for Santos, all the named respondents were part of the 49 PNP personnel recommended by the PNP SITG 990 in April to be criminally charged for violation of Sections 21 (custody and disposition of confiscated drugs), 27 (criminal liability of a public officer for misappropriating seized drugs) and 92 (delay and bungling in the prosecution of drug cases) of RA 9165.Administrative raps
The complaint pending before the Ombudsman also included dismissed MSgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr., an intelligence officer of the DEG SOU-NCR, as respondent. He is currently detained in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, while the drug case against him is ongoing.
Aside from the criminal charges, Abalos said the Napolcom was finishing the administrative proceedings against 48 personnel caught on CCTV during the botched operation outside the Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc. office in Tondo, owned by Mayo, where the shabu haul was found.