AT least 20 policemen facing various criminal charges will be sent to Mindanao to battle the Abu Sayyaf and other bandits, National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said Monday.
“I will send them to Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi to fight the Abu Sayyaf,” said Dela Rosa, three days after vowing to impose strict discipline against scalawags in the police force.
He declined to identify the policemen, however.
“Not all of them are involved in drugs. There [are] cops that were receiving money from syndicates that must be attended to,” Dela Rosa said.
The reassignments will begin in batches this month, he said.
Earlier, Dela Rosa gave policemen linked to drugs 48 hours to surrender.
At least 2,405 policemen including 75 senior police officials were subjected to a surprise drug test at the conference area of the Philippine National Police main building Friday night.
Nine policemen tested positive for drugs in the first round. A second test showed two more.
Dela Rosa said the PNP would conduct further tests to confirm the results, since some policemen were on medication.
He described the findings as “alarming,” however.
“I have zero tolerance on drugs, but now nine have tested positive. That is alarming,” he said.
Dela Rosa said the drug test aims to show transparency in the organization and ensure the public that PNP high officials are capable of being role models in leading the fight against illegal drugs.
On Sunday, police and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Customs confiscated 180 kilos of shabu worth P900 million in a farm in Culao, Claveria, in Cagayan.
The confiscated drugs, packed in plastic bags, were presented to the media in Camp Crame.
“The confiscation of this contraband is a manifestation of the keen resolve of the PNP in pursuing the national government’s flagship program against illegal drugs,” Dela Rosa said.
He said the discovery of the drugs, which were found buried in a shallow pit, was based on a tip from an informant. The tip prompted government agents to conduct surveillance on the property owned by a certain Rene Dimaya.
Dela Rosa said they would be investigating all the people involved in the transshipment of shabu, including the farm owner.
The PNP chief said the drugs were scheduled to be shipped to an unidentified Chinese national in Binondo when authorities seized the contraband.
“It was ready for delivery to a Chinese national in Binondo but for fear of being detected by the authorities, they buried the drugs,” Dela Rosa said.
“In the coming days we expect more arrests and operations against syndicated crime groups engaged in drug trafficking,” Dela Rosa said.
PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña vowed to destroy the 180 kilos of shabu immediately to prevent it from being recycled and sold.
Dela Rosa added that the volume of shabu in Claveria was just the tip of the iceberg as he expects to confiscate more illegal drugs as the nationwide drive to stop the drug trade gains momentum.
In the last week, authorities have killed at least 10 suspected drug pushers in Luzon.
In Bulacan, seven people said to be involved in drug peddling were killed in separate shootouts a week ago.
The Bulacan acting police director, Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said three were killed in Meycauayan City, one in Pandi, one in Calumpit, one in Obando, and one in Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.
Policemen also confiscated assorted firearms and ammunitions; sachets of containing white crystalline substance, probably shabu; marked money and other drug paraphernalia.
In San Pedro City, Laguna, a drug suspect armed with a .38-cal pistol, was killed in an encounter with police officers in Barangay Sto. Niño over the weekend.
In Dagupan City, Pangasinan, authorities shot and killed two alleged drug dealers in another shootout on Monday at 11 a.m. in a buy-bust at Greenbee Cottage in Bonuan Tondaligan.
On Monday, incoming Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said it was likely that President Rodrigo Duterte was exaggerating when he sought the cooperation of communist rebels in the government’s fight against drug traffickers.
Outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon said the communist New People’s Army cannot enforce the law because they are not the government.
“We only have one government. We only have one law enforcement agency. We have only one court. [They] should enforce the law,” Drilon said.
Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, meanwhile, said the Joint Task Group-National Capital Region will be one of the military units designated to help the police in their ongoing anti-drug campaign.
Military support for the war against drug will concentrate on the gathering of intelligence against drug syndicates, he added.
The Justice department recommended on Monday the indictment of two Taiwanese men arrested in Parañaque City last week for carrying P195 million worth of shabu.
Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat found probable cause to file charges of illegal transportation and possession of dangerous drugs under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, against Tseng Shien Ming and Huang Zheng Kai.
“Considering that respondents were caught in the act of transporting shabu with a total net weight of 38,594.1 grams to an undetermined place in Cavite, there is more than probable cause to warrant their indictment,” the DoJ said.
No bail has been recommended.
Police said the two Taiwanese are allegedly part of a drug syndicate operating in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
In Davao City, seven self-confessed drug pushers surrendered to Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, the President’s son. The vice mayor said both drug users and pushers were putting their lives at risk by being involved in illegal drugs.
But Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Monday that drug users and pushers who have surrendered are not off the hook.
“If they surrender, they have to be investigated because they have to cooperate with police and pinpoint their companions in the illegal drug trade,” Aguirre said. “Under the law, they are not yet off the hook.” With Rey E. Requejo, PNA
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