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Monday, July 22, 2024

Rody bares new list of ‘narco-cops’, shabu prices dip

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Saying the drug menace has reached “an unimaginable sphere of influence” across the country, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday released another matrix of seven former government agents and police officers supposedly involved in the narcotics trade.

At the same time, both Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde and National Capital Region police director Guillermo Eleazar admitted that a big supply of illegal drugs, particularly shabu, continues to flood Metro Manila’s streets”•but nobody’s buying them, even at lower prices.

The top cops were reacting to a statement from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency head Aaron Aquino, who said in a congressional hearing that the P6.8 billion worth of shabu that slipped past Customs into the country, in magnetic lifters that were recovered empty in Cavite in August, are now circulating in the big city.

In a television interview, Albayalde said if the flooding of shabu in the NCR was true, the lower prices for the drug indicated that fewer people were buying the stimulant out of fear of the police’s “Operation Tokhang” and other anti-illegal drug programs.

The PNP admission, and the President’s new matrix, only served to highlight the differences between police and anti-drug agents, who have given conflicting statements on the unabated narcotics trade.

On top of the pyramid Duterte released is dismissed police superintendent Eduardo Acierto, who was linked to fellow former superintendent Leonardo Suan, but at the heart of the matrix was former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency deputy director general Ismael Fajardo.

Fajardo was linked to the six other men in the chart shown by Duterte, which included Superintendent Lorenzo Bacia, police inspectors Lito Pirote and Conrado Caragdag, and Senior Police Officer 4 Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag.

“Enormous networks of powerful people and sophisticated modus are utilized to protect and continuously carry out unscrupulous activities under the guise of legitimate law enforcement operations,” the President’s document added.

The paper focused on Fajardo’s illegal activities since being relieved last month following his links to the controversial smuggling of P6.8 billion worth of shabu in August.

PDEA Director General Aquino told a House committee on Sept. 27 that Fajardo and Jimmy Guban, the resigned Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service officer, knew that hundreds of kilograms of shabu would be shipped into the country. Nat Mariano

“Director Fajardo is known in the [law enforcement] community as a ‘scorer’ or one who delivers accomplishments. However, he is branded as a ‘recycler’ of drugs and fabricator of stories,” the report said.

Fajardo has kept portions of recovered drugs for “personal use and reselling,” it added.

The former drug enforcement official also “cripples suspects by bleeding them of resources” to stop them from using their money in hiring a lawyer, bribing the judiciary, and influencing important personalities “which may all help reveal their modus,” the report asserted.

It also pressed Fajardo’s involvement in several incidents of drug recycling and other illegal activities involving drugs since his early days as an anti-narcotics operative in the Philippine National Police.

According to the report, Fajardo and his group allegedly made up stories to justify the arrest of Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino and his Chinese companion during a raid in 2016.

Acierto, who was recently dismissed from the police over his involvement in the anomalous purchase of 1,004 AK-47 rifles found to be in the possession of the New People’s Army, has connections with “various narcotics financiers and manufacturers inside and outside the country” including jailed Chinese nationals, the report said.

“He is the mentor and considered to be the one whom Fajardo takes orders from when it comes to anti-narcotics operations,” it said.

However, the report did not specify details on the involvement of Bacia, Pirote, Caragdag, and Liwanag in the illegal drug trade.

The intensive report, centered on law enforcement officials’ misconduct,  recommended the investigation for various offenses and lifestyle check on Fajardo and Guban for their speculated unexplained wealth.

Duterte decided to make the report public at a press conference in Malacañang as he dismissed claims that Davao City-based businessman Michael Yang was his Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and was linked to the narcotics trade.

The Palace has yet to issue a statement on the President’s declassification of government officials’ involvement in the illegal drug trade. Duterte had previously named five police generals as protectors of drug syndicates.

READ: Another mayor on Rody’s list of ‘narco-pols’ killed

READ: DoJ: Stop the narco-cops

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