War vs. drugs still far from over: PNP

MANILAThe Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday admitted that there is still a lot to do in the war against illegal drugs.

PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana, made the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte revealed another matrix indicating the involvement of five active and two dismissed police officials in illegal drug activities.

Ibig sabihin ang (this means the) war against drug is still far from over, and we need to continuously cleanse our ranks of misfits and scalawags, Durana said when sought for a comment.

Based on the report dated Sept. 12, 2018, Duterte identified the police officials as retired Senior Superintendents Eduardo Acierto and Leonardo Suan, former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy chief for administration Supt. Ismael Fajardo Jr., Supt. Lorenzo Bacia, Inspectors Lito Pirote and Conrado Caragdag, and Senior Police Officer 4 Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag, who were allegedly tagged in the enormous illegal drugs network in the country.

"So far this is an (intelligence information), continuous ang ating (our) investigation, hindi lamang yung (not only our) regular investigation, pati na rin yung (and also the) counter intelligence, not only for these police officers but also other police officers, who may have derogatory reports sa kanila (from them), especially in illegal drugs, " Durana noted.

The PNP spokesperson clarified that they have yet to validate the report before filing charges against the implicated cops.

This investigation will give them due process. Since an intelligence information is inadmissible in court, definitely a case build-up and thorough investigation is in motion right after we relieved [them] based on the order of Chief Albayalde, he added.

Duterte first made public the Secret Special Report on the involvement of high-ranking law enforcement officials iin the drug trade in a Palace event on Tuesday, where he asked his top aide, Christopher Bong Go, to provide media copies of the 15-page document.

PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier said these officers have already been relieved from their positions to give way to a fair investigation.

The active cops who have already been relieved since Monday were said to be assigned in the PNP-Drug Enforcement Group (DEG), Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU), Bicol Region and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Bacia of PRO-ARRM was assigned to PHAU, Pirote from PRO3 to PHAU, Caragdag from PRO Cordillera to PHAU and Liwanag from PRO 2 to PHAU.

Acierto, who was on top of the matrix, was one of the seven cops who were ordered dismissed in August over their alleged involvement in the anomalous issuance of AK-47 rifle licenses from 2011 to 2013 that supposedly ended up in the hands of New People's Army rebels in Mindanao.

He was also alleged to be the mentor of Fajardo, who was also relieved as PDEA's second highest official in September.

This is due to his alleged involvement in the PHP6.8-billion 'shabu' smuggling case in Cavite in August. (With reports from Azer Parrocha/PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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