By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – Two police officers from Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) have so far filed for a leave of absence pending investigation of the case of a police sergeant who yielded 990 kilograms of shabu worth PHP6.7 billion in an operation in Manila last year.
Speaking to reporters in Camp Crame on Wednesday, PNP Public Information Office (PIO) chief Col. Redrico Maranan identified the two officials as PDEG chief Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo and Col. Julian Olonan, chief of PDEG’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) Region 4A.
“Yes sa aking pagkakaalam yung dalawa pa lang. Ito ay mga challenges sa isang law enforcement organization. When we say challenges, these are challenges na dapat ma overcome namin by doing what is right. Yun naman ang ating ginagawa. Ang PNP naman kailanman ay hindi nagto-tolerate ng mga kasamahan na nagkakamali. As a matter of fact marami tayong dinidismiss na mga kasamahan natin, marami tayong sinususpindi at marami tayong napaparusahan through our internal cleansing (Yes, as far as I know, the two of them for now. These are the challenges of a law enforcement organization. When we say challenges, these are challenges that we should be able to overcome by doing what is right. That is what we are doing. The PNP, on the other hand, never tolerates colleagues making mistakes. As a matter of fact, many of our colleagues are dismissed, many are suspended and many are punished through our internal cleansing),” Maranan said.
Aside from Domingo and Olonan, other police officials seen in the footage showed by Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. are Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr., then PNP Deputy Chief for Operations; Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, Capt. Jonathan Sosongco, head of the PDEG SOU 4A arresting team; Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibañez, OIC of PDEG SOU National Capital Region (NCR); Maj. Michael Angelo Salmingo, deputy of PDEG SOU NCR; Lt. Col. Glenn Gonzales of Quezon City Police District; Lt. Ashrap Amerol, intelligence officer of PDEG Intelligence and Foreign Liaison Division; Lt. Col. Harry Lorenzo, Manila Police District Moriones Station commander; and Capt. Randolph Piñon, chief of PDEG SOU 4A Intelligence Section.
Abalos earlier said the concerned officers have a week to file their leave of absence, otherwise, they would be suspended.
Meanwhile, Maranan said the PNP welcomes the call for an inquiry into the involvement of these officials in the purported attempt to cover up the operation.
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. filed Senate Resolution No. 564 on Tuesday directing the proper Senate committees to conduct a legislative inquiry on the matter.
“Well, bukas ang pambansang pulisya sa lahat ng klaseng imbestigasyon na gagawin sapagkat ito ay isang magandang pagkakataon para makita natin ‘yung mga circumstances at malinawan lahat ng mga issue pagdating dito sa kaso ng 990 kilos (Well, the national police is open to all kinds of investigations that will be done because this is a good opportunity for us to see the circumstances and clarify all the issues when it comes to the case of 990 kilos of shabu),” Maranan said.
Maranan also shrugged off speculations on PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr.’s silence over the issue.
“Sa aming pag-uusap ng ating Chief PNP siya ay magbibigay ng pahayag dito sa mga darating na araw. Meron lang siyang hinihintay pang mga reports at binabasang reports at kapag nabasa na niya yun at nakarating na sa kanyang tanggapan siya ay magbibigay ng pahayag (During our conversation with our Chief PNP he will give a statement here in the coming days. He is just waiting for more reports and reading the reports and when he has read them and reached his office he will give a statement),” he added.
Domingo on Tuesday denied any attempt to cover up the seizure of PHP6.7 billion worth of shabu during an anti-drug operation in Manila City in October 2022.
“We assure you that that there was no attempted cover-up here, kung ‘yun po ang iniisip ng karamihan na ang PDEG kami ay nag-cover up sa maling pinaggagawa ng mga tao namin (We assure you that there was no attempted cover-up here, if most people think that PDEG is covering up the wrongdoings of its personnel),” Domingo told reporters in a press briefing held at the PDEG Annex at Camp Crame.
Domingo said he will comply with the order of Abalos for him to file his leave of absence to pave the way on the investigation on the matter.
“But may I express my dismay that this is really unfair. We just did our mandate and just did our fight against the illegal drugs trade. Kami na nga po itong nakagawa ng pinakamalaking huli ng shabu sa kasaysayan ng PNP, 990 kilos shabu na nagkakahalaga ng PHP6.7 billion, kinasuhan ang dalawang suspects pati ang kapwa naming pulis na si Master Sergeant Mayo kami pa ngayon ang pinagdududahang kasabwat sa aming nahuling suspects (It is us who have caught this biggest shabu haul in the history of the PNP. We have charged two suspects and our fellow police officer, Master Sgt. Mayo, and now we are accused of being in cahoots with the suspects we caught),” he explained.
“Our conscience is clear, we assure you there is no attempt to cover up here,” he added.
On March 26, the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency destroyed the 990 kilos of shabu in Trece Martires City, Cavite. (PNA)