2 generals, 48 cops in drug charged bust

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  • Raps filed over P6.7B shabu seizure
    CRIMINAL charges have been filed against 50 policemen, including two generals, involved
    in the anomalous raid in Manila in October last year that led to the seizure of 990 kilos of
    shabu worth P6.7 billion.

    Interior Secretary and National Police Commission (Napolcom) chairman Benjamin Abalos
    Jr. announced the filing of the charges against the policemen, led by Lt. Gen. Benjamin
    Santos Jr., during a press conference yesterday afternoon.

    Abalos said the charges, which include violation of the antigraft and corrupt practices act,
    were lodged last Friday by the PNP and Napolcom before the Office of the Ombudsman.

    The other charges filed were for violation of the comprehensive dangerous drugs act;
    violation of the Revised Penal Code, specifically falsification, perjury, false testimony,
    malversation of public property; and obstruction of justice.

    “For clarity purposes, of these 50 respondents, 48 appeared on the CCTV (close circuit
    television) video, and an additional two officers have been charged on the basis of
    conspiracy with the 48,” said Abalos.

    Abalos was referring to the CCTV footage that he presented last April which he said
    showed a “massive attempt to cover up the arrest” of Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr.,
    then assigned with the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.

    Mayo owns the money lending firm where the 990 kilos were seized by PDEG operatives
    during a raid on October 8. The video showed Mayo in handcuffs but he was later released.

    Police said Mayo was arrested, with two kilos of shabu, a day later also in Manila. Mayo has
    been discharged from the service.

    Among the officers seen on the video were Santos, the former PNP deputy chief for
    operations who is now assigned with the office of the PNP chief; and former PDEG chief
    Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo.

    Ten of the other accused cops were also officers Col. Julian Olonan, Lt. Cols. Arnulfo
    Ibanez, Glenn Gonzales and Dhefrey Punzalan; Maj. Michael Angelo Salmingo, and
    Lieutenants Jonathan Sosongco, Jeffrey Padilla, Randolph Pinon, Silverio Bulleser II, and
    Ashrap Amerol.

    The 38 others are noncommission personnel, including Mayo. The ranks of the 37 others
    ranged from chief master sergeant to patrolman.

    Abalos said the charges were filed based on the joint investigation conducted by a
    Napolcom factfinding team led by vice chairman Alberto Bernardo and the PNP Special
    Investigation Task Group 990 headed by PNP Director for Investigation and Detective
    Management Maj. Gen Eliseo Cruz.

    Abalos said the investigation was “very comprehensive,” adding the investigators had “gone
    through everything, the inconsistencies of their testimonies not only in their testimony but
    their testimony against (the) tape (video) itself.”

    Abalos said 48 of the accused policemen are also facing administrative charges before the

    “Aside from the criminal charges that have been filed last Friday against these police
    officials, the Napolcom is conducting administrative proceedings,” said Abalos.

    He said the Napolcom has completed its precharge investigation against the 48 personnel
    who appeared in the video, adding a resolution of the administrative case is expected in
    about 15 days.

    “A precharge investigation is similar to a preliminary investigation under a fiscal. If the
    counteraffidavits of the respondents are found insufficient, the Napolcom shall proceed to
    file formal charges against them,” said Abalos.

    “The possible formal charges include grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, serious
    irregularity in the performance of duty, conduct unbecoming of a police officer, and
    dishonesty, among others. The penalties include dismissal from service, forfeiture of
    benefits, and disqualification from public office,” he added.

    “Two weeks from now, we are going to know if they will be suspended, dismissed, or
    reprimanded,” said Abalos.

    Bernardo said he believes they have a strong case against the 50 cops.
    Bernardo said there might be additional charges filed against the police personnel, noting
    that Napolcom is continuing to look into the case. He also said there is a possibility that
    more additional personnel will be charged before the Ombudsman.

    Bernardo said two of those charged before the Ombudsman were among the four generals
    and colonels whose courtesy resignations were recently recommended by the fiveman
    advisory group to President Marcos Jr.

    The advisory group vetted the courtesy resignations of 917 colonels and generals who
    submitted their resignations on the call of Abalos last January to rid the PNP of officials
    involved in illegal drugs.

    “Two of the four (whose resignations were recommended to be accepted) were among
    those charged before the Office of the Ombudsman,” Bernardo said, without naming

    As to the involvement of Santos, Bernardo said: “Without going to the specifics, we have
    what we call command responsibility in the uniformed service.

    “If you went to the crime scene, you assumed that kind of responsibility. At that time, he was
    the PNP deputy chief for operations. You are supposed to be mindful of all of those
    situations, you are the highest authority (there), (and) nothing will happen below if you did
    not authorize it. Initially, that’s all we can say. In fairness to Lt. Gen. Santos, we cannot
    dwell on the details,” said Bernardo. (V. Reyes, Malaya)


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