Seven city cops disarmed as drug link probe begins

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya/RHM (The Freeman) - February 16, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least seven policemen from the Cebu City Police Office have been relieved from their posts and are facing an investigation due to allegations that they received money in exchange for the release of drug suspects.

Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas, Police Regional Office-7 deputy regional director for operations, said the policemen, who were with the Cebu City Police Office-City Intelligence Branch were also disarmed while investigation is ongoing.

“I have already directed the chief of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division to conduct the investigation and closely coordinate with the investigating unit of CCPO,” said Lawas.

The allegation surfaced after a concerned citizen, who exposed the anomaly in a text message to the media, said four drug runners were arrested when CIB operatives raided C. Padilla Street in Barangay Duljo-Fatima in the afternoon Sunday last week.

The CIB policemen allegedly confiscated “several” packs of shabu from the four, but it was allegedly not recorded in the official blotter.

The informant alleged that the CIB operatives released the four suspects in exchange for P75,000 each.

A spot report at the CIB office showed that an anti-illegal drug operation was carried out  in Duljo-Fatima last Sunday afternoon but only 18-year-old Lito Paculanang was arrested after he was found with seven small sachets of suspected shabu.

In an interview, Paculanang said three of them were arrested during the operation but the two others reportedly made him admit the crime so they would be released. Paculanang said the two promised to get help from their boss for his bail.

Lawas said part of his directive was to find for the two men so investigators could also get their statements as witnesses.

He also said part of the investigation would be to also establish whether the CIB commanders and even the CCPO director also have a liability, if the allegation is true.

“As a whole, that will form part of the investigation, para makita ug ma-point out nato ang liability of these people…from those operating personnel up to the level of the city director,” said Lawas.

April last year, Superintendent Romeo Santander, the previous CIB chief, had expressed suspicion that someone from their group was betraying them by leaking to their targets information on their anti-illegal drug operations.

This was after cellular phones confiscated from suspects contained messages from someone giving them warning on an impending police operation in their area. — (FREEMAN)

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