DOJ: 50 local execs in drugs
President Duterte is expected to announce shortly the involvement of some 50 local government officials in the narcotics trade amid findings by an investigative team that sufficient evidence warranted the filing of administrative charges against two former police chiefs of Quezon City accused of protecting drug lords.
“My God, you will be shocked,” the chief presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, told reporters on Tuesday.
Panelo said the President would disclose the names of 27 local officials supplied by intelligence agencies.
However, a senior official in the Department of Justice (DOJ), who spoke on condition of anonymity, put the number at 50 and said that the evidence against them was strong.
“The matter was discussed at the Cabinet meeting last Monday and President Duterte is expected to announce their names anytime soon,” the official said.
He said the list included governors and mayors who had been under surveillance. Evidence gathered have proven their links to drug syndicates, the source said.
The National Police Commission (Napolcom) on Tuesday announced that an investigative team had found sufficient evidence to pursue administrative cases against Chief Superintendents Joel Pagdilao and Edgardo Tinio, who both previously headed the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), in connection with their alleged illegal drug activities.
“These are not formal charges yet, only findings arrived [at] by the team,” the Napolcom vice commissioner, Rogelio Casurao, told reporters, adding that the pieces of evidence against Pagdilao and Tinio were mostly documentary and may prove allegations leveled by President Duterte against them and three other top Philippine National Police officials.
The others were Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot and retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo.
If the findings are approved by the Napolcom, Pagdilao and Tinio might face administrative charges of serious neglect of duty, serious irregularity in the conduct of duty and conduct unbecoming of a police officer. They were given until on Tuesday to submit their comments on the findings.
Tinio and Pagdilao filed their comments later on Tuesday.
In an interview with reporters, Tinio reiterated his denial of the accusations against him, adding that his track record as chief of QCPD and later of the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) will show that he was a “top performer” in the illegal drug campaign.
“Nowhere in the accusations held against me did anybody directly pointed me as someone who protected or aided drug syndicates or sold by services, that I slept with the enemy, that I dipped my fingers in illegal drugs and criminality,” he said.
“How can they possibly hurl against us the accusation that there is serious neglect of duty when we are the top performer in the NCRPO?” he added.
Tinio said he suspected a classmate in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) turned against him.
“If a fellow cavalier relayed that polluted information to the President, if he gave unvalidated information, I’m also challenging him: Are you all right? Because I am all right. I can see anybody in the eye and say for the past 31 years since I graduated in the PMA. I don’t have any administrative and criminal case and I can say with all humility that I was a devoted public servant,” Tinio said.
Casurao said among the pieces of evidence gathered by the investigating team against Tinio and Pagdilao were their alleged transferring of untrained or unqualified subordinate police officers to anti-illegal drug units. Such junior officers also tended to remain in or return to their units whenever there was a reshuffle.
SOPs not observed
Casurao said investigators also cited the PNP headquarters’ calling the attention of the two police chiefs for their supposed failures to prepare pre- and post-operation reports of their antidrug operations.
“A lot of standard operating procedures and police operating procedures (SOPs) have not been observed. Under our present rules it can warrant an administrative investigation that can lead to a verdict that will involve separation from service,” Casurao said.
He added that the statements of assets and liabilities filed by the two police officials were also scrutinized.
Casurao said the investigators had yet to find evidence to warrant the filing of administrative cases against Diaz, the third police official named by Duterte. He said the investigators had invited several possible witnesses who could elaborate on the accusations against Diaz.
The administrative cases carry a maximum penalty of separation on conviction and a recommendation by Napolcom to the Office of the Ombudsman for criminal prosecution.
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