100 cops in Central Luzon linked to drugs
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - July 9, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - At least 100 policemen assigned in Central Luzon allegedly have links to the rampant illegal drug trade in the region, according to Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon regional police director.

“They could be protectors or pushers,” Aquino said yesterday during the visit of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa to the provincial police headquarters in Bataan.

Aquino added he is now reviewing the records of the concerned policemen pending the filing of administrative cases against them.

For the time being, he said, these alleged rogue policemen, mostly assigned in Bulacan and Pampanga, would be relieved from their assignments and reassigned elsewhere.

Aquino said that he would monitor the activities of these policemen in their new assignments.

Earlier, De la Rosa ordered the transfer of Metro Manila-based policemen suspected of being involved in the illegal trade to Mindanao to fight the Abu Sayyaf and other lawless groups.

Aquino said these rogue policemen have a network of civilian contacts in their illegal activities.

He added in a week alone, a chief inspector, police officer 3 and police officer 1 have tested positive for illegal drugs after the mandatory drug test conducted on all policemen in the region.

“The one who was found dead in Bulacan was among the three,” Aquino said, referring to PO3 Michael Lee Manalad, formerly of the Malolos City police, whose body was found in Mecauayan City the other day.

Manalad, said to be a drug pusher in Bulacan, was still in his police uniform when his body – which bore torture marks – was recovered.

Loot faces DILG

Retired police chief superintendent and now Mayor Vicente Loot of Daanbatayan, Cebu presented himself yesterday morning to Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueño and denied that he is involved in the illegal drug business.

Loot, along with retired police deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr., relieved National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City Police District director Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio and former Western Visayas police regional director Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, were named by President Duterte as protectors of the illegal drug trade in the country.

Details of Loot’s meeting with Sueño were not immediately known, except that the former police officer maintained his innocence and declared he was ready to defend himself before a court of law.

Garbo also denied any links to illegal drugs but said he would not exchange words with the President because he doesn’t have 16 million votes to back his innocence, which he said will only come out in a fair trial once charges are filed against him.

“I am ready to face my accusers in the court of law instead of facing the people who have fed false and poisoned information against me to the President,” he said in an interview.

Earlier, he also said that he is willing to face the President in a one-on-one talk to clear his name and regain his lost reputation and that of his family.

Meanwhile, Duterte’s action against the five police officials, the latest of which were his tagging of Garbo as the protector of a drug triad the other day, has become the subject of debates among law students in the social media networking site Facebook.

Moderated and also participated in by lawyer Raymond Fortun, the debate centered on the constitutional rights to due process of any person accused of any crime and if the President’s action was legally acceptable.

While some lawyers and others defended and supported the President’s action, most disagreed, citing the right of presumption of innocence until proven otherwise under the Bill of Rights of the five accused police officials has been violated.

Killings continue

Police anti-illegal drug operations resulted in the deaths of seven suspected drug pushers in Quezon City, Sorsogon, Cagayan and Caloocan City in the past three days.

Three drug suspects were killed in separate incidents in Quezon City before dawn yesterday.

The three suspects, only identified by their aliases, were killed in shootouts with local policemen during buy-bust operations.

The first fatality identified only as Ver was shot during the aborted entrapment operation along San Miguel Street in Barangay Payatas.

The other slain drug pusher, a certain Jong, was killed when he fired at an undercover policeman during their transaction inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman.

Another alleged drug pusher identified as Gilbert Rex was gunned down by policemen during a drug sting operation in Barangay Bagumbuhay.

Two drug pushers were killed in a buy-bust operation in Sorsogon City Thursday evening, police said.

The suspects – one identified as Jepoy – were gunned down by a police undercover agent when the pushers tried to hurl a grenade and shot at the policeman during the aborted entrapment operation in Barangay San Lorenzo. 

Recovered from the crime scene were a hand grenade, a caliber .38 revolver, a 9 mm pistol and eight plastic sachets containing shabu and the P500 marked money used in the buy-bust operation.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead another suspected drug dealer in Sitio Ayaga Barangay Lucban, Abulug, Cagayan last Wednesday night. ?Cagayan police spokesman Chief Insp. Ronnie Labao said Jomar Clemente of Barangay Guidam was fetching his mistress at a boarding house when the unidentified assailants shot him. ?Labao said Clemente topped the police watch list of drug pushers in Abulug town.

A scavenger discovered yesterday the remains of an unidentified man, believed to be a drug pusher, inside a box that was abandoned in a garbage dump in Caloocan City. 

Chief Insp. Ilustre Mendoza, Caloocan police investigator, said the victim had a stab wound in the body and two plastic sachets of shabu were recovered inside the box.

Vice mayor’s brod surrenders

Fearing that he could be the next target of police operations, the older brother of Caloocan City Vice Mayor Macario Asistio III surrendered yesterday to the police.

Luis Asistio III, with the assistance of the vice mayor, went directly to the office of Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan and turned himself in, saying he wanted to “straighten his ways and would voluntarily submit himself to rehabilitation.”

Luis, also known as Peting, told his brother that he fears he could be among the fatalities in police operations.

The vice mayor told The STAR that his brother consulted the whole family last Tuesday and there was a consensus that he should give himself up.

“In return, he promised the authorities that he would tell everything he knows about the drug deals, the persons he buys drugs from and the other users he knows,” he said.

Peting later proceeded to the Caloocan Police station and signed an affidavit of undertaking, promising to enter a rehabilitation center, according to Caloocan police chief investigator Chief Insp. Ilustre Mendoza. – With Rey Galupo, Romina Cabrera, Celso Amo, Raymund Catindig, Ben Serrano, Victor Martin, Cet Dematera, Artemio Dumlao

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