Chinese drug lords detained at the New Bilibid Prison “remotely manage the entire drug trade in the country,” the former chief of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said Thursday.
READ: Bilibid hospital rocks with sex, drugs treat
Testifying before a Senate investigation of corruption at the Bureau of Corrections, Benjamin Magalong, now Baguio City mayor, also said that based on their investigations, “all roads practically lead to the NBP.”
Magalong, who had also been chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, debunked reports that there is a shabu laboratory inside the NBP, the country’s national penitentiary, saying it was easier and safer to establish drug laboratories on the outside.
Police officers would release arrested Chinese drug lords in exchange for as much as P50 million as part of a scheme called “Agaw Bato.”
This involved arresting Chinese drug traffickers and seizing their drugs, then freeing them for a ransom and arresting another Chinese national to replace the freed suspect.
This way, he said, they earned twice—from the illegal drugs and the ransoms paid.
Like PDEA chief Aaron Aquino, Magalong said some police recycled the confiscated drugs either to resell or plant as evidence.
Magalong said the bulk of illegal drugs seized during raids was sold back under a scheme called “fast break.”
“The illegal drugs would be concealed and later, they will be used in another transaction,” said Magalong. He said the resale of recycled drugs has evolved into an enterprise.
While Magalong said this resale involved police officers, he refused to name names and asked for an executive session.
He said the crooked cops were high-ranking officers.
Senator Richard Gordon, head of the committees investigating BuCor, said some of the police that were recycling seized drugs were still in active service.
But Magalong told senators that the illicit trade in recycled drugs has been tempered.
Even drug equipment was recycled, Magalong said and used to create the impression that multiple drug raids were launched.
Part of his testimony came from a sworn statement he executed in a congressional inquiry in 2015.
In the same hearing, former Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said removing telecommunications, including Internet connection, at the NBP would keep convicted drug lords away from the drug business.
In a related development, Aquino said he would ask the new BuCor chief, Gerald Bantag, to allow PDEA to bring back its satellite office in the NBP and allow them to conduct surprise drug tests on inmates.
Under the administration of then BuCor chief Ronald dela Rosa, the bureau removed PDEA’s office at the NBP. With Rio N. ArajaREAD: DOJ probes drug-dealing inmateREAD: PNP reboots war on drugs
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