PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino on Friday denied providing the Department of the Interior and Local Government with a list of narco-politicians that led to their losing control and supervision over the police.
“The statement of DILG’s [officer-in-charge Catalino] Cuy is not true since the list of narco-politicians is a product of [an] inter-agency intelligence task force, and not PDEA alone,” he said.
On Oct. 3, the National Police Commission under the supervision of Cuy issued nine resolutions stripping a governor and 23 mayors over their control of the police.
Cuy said the resolutions were based on the list of narco-politicians submitted by PDEA to the DILG.
But Aquino said the list of local officials with drug ties had come from the Office of the President as early as December 2016.
“Since then, PDEA has been updating the list on a monthly basis through the inter-agency validation task group composed of PDEA, Philippine National Police, Directorate for Intelligence, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. The inter-agency validation task force was created in January 2017 through a directive from the National Security Council,” he said.
Aquino said PDEA, as the inter-agency validation task force secretariat, would submit to the President a monthly updated list.
“In September 2017, DILG visited PDEA office to compare the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte list they secured from Malacañang to the updated list prepared by the inter-agency validation task force,” he said.
On Friday, the PDEA destroyed P6 billion worth of dangerous drugs at a waste management facility in Barangay Aguado, Trece Martirez City, Cavite.
Aquino presided over the burning of 952.69 kilos of assorted pieces of drug evidence composed of shabu, cocaine, ketamine, marijuana, benzphetamine HCl, N-benzylpiperazine, zolpidem, ephedrine, propanolol, sodium carbonate, valium, nitrazepam, nalbuphine, clonazepam, alprazolam, midazolam, methylphenidate, MDMA, codeine, pseudoephedrine, expired medicines and liquid shabu weighing 1,079.159 liters.
“We want the public to witness the destruction of dangerous drugs seized by drug enforcement officers to allay public apprehensions that these illegal drugs and illicit substances are being reused, recycled or sold back in the streets,” Aquino said.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman on Blue Ribbon Committee, also witnessed the destruction of the seized drugs.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department on Friday concluded its preliminary investigation of the killing of two youths, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, allegedly by police who were carrying out anti-drug operations.
The DoJ’s panel of prosecutors, headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio, said the case has been submitted for resolution after conducting preliminary investigation on the complaints filed by the parents of the victims against taxi driver Tomas Bagcal and two policemen, namely, PO1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita.
During Friday’s hearing, respondents presented tricycle driver Solomon Rosca and his wife Madelene Soliman to back their statement that Arnaiz died during a legitimate pre-dawn operation along C-3 Road in Caloocan City last Aug. 18.
They asserted that Arnaiz, 19, died during a shootout when he resisted arrest and fired his handgun at chasing policemen following the taxi robbery committed against Bagcal.
This contradicted a witness who said he saw Arnaiz already in police custody before he was shot dead.
Also on Friday, President Duterte transferred two former Customs officials accused of corruption and conspiring with drug smugglers to the Department of Transportation.
Former Bureau of Customs Import Assessment Services Director Milo Maestrecampo was appointed assistant director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Former Deputy Customs Commissioner Gerardo Gambala was appointed director of the Office of Transportation Security.
Both agencies are under the Department of Transportation.
Maestrecampo and Gambala resigned from their posts after congressional hearings on the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu.
Customs broker Mark Taguba named Maestrecampo during a House hearing as among Customs officials who received bribes from drug smugglers while Gambala was tagged by Senator Panfilo Lacson of being among the BoC’s corrupt officials.
A month later, the PDEA filed a complaint accusing former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon, Maestrecampo, and 10 others of conspiring to import illegal drugs and protecting drug traffickers.