UNDER PAYROLL OF DRUG LORDS
Police officials in Cebu receive money from drug lords: Dela Rosa
The massive relief and reshuffling of Cebu-based police officials and operatives, especially in Cebu City, was because of their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
This was revealed by Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as he apologized to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña for any slight he may have done with his order to transfer some police officials.
Dela Rosa admitted that the revamp of police officials in Cebu City and in Central Visayas was because of reports that some of them were receiving money from personalities involved in illegal drugs.
“Pasensya na, sir, kung nahiubos ka nga gipatanggal namo ang imong city director, ang imong mga police nga na-identify sa illegal drug trade,” Dela Rosa said.
(I’m sorry if you (Osmeña) didn’t like my decision to relieve your city director and your other police who are identified with the illegal drugs trade.)
“Prangkahan na ito. Dili na lang ko magpakieme-kieme. May nagadawat nga mga police in a guise of whatever. Basta naay nagadawat. (I have to be frank. There are policemen here who are receiving money from drug syndicates in a guise of whatever.) Inasmuch as I want to please you, but we have a job to do,” he added.
Among those relieved were PRO-7 Director Patrocinio Comendador and Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Chief Benjamin Santos. The police directors of Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City were also relieved.
Sought for comment, former PRO-7 director Comendador said Dela Rosa should have mentioned the names of the police officials whom he relieved because of their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
“He should have mentioned names to be fair. I was relieved earlier together with other regional directors with no specific reason except I believe were appointees of the previous administration,” he told CDN in a text message.
“I was only three months as regional director and neutralized top drug personalities. If I’m in their payola, why then did we hit hard against the drug lords? It doesn’t sound logical,” he added.
Since he became a police officer, Comendador said he made sure to shun corruption.
“I can look at them eye to eye since we both know who are those officers who are on the take. I have safeguarded my reputation like my family and relatives. People in Central Visayas deserve better explanations than sweeping statements,” he said.
Cebu Daily News contacted former CCPO director Santos through the phone, but he didn’t answer the calls. Text messages sent to him were also left unanswered.
Since his assumption as Chief of PNP, Dela Rosa also relieved 67 operatives of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (RAIDSOTF) and the Regional Special Operations Group, who were responsible for the killing of suspected big-time drug lords Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria and his alleged cohorts, on Banacon Island, Getafe, Bohol, Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz in Las Piñas City, an alleged drug pusher in Barangay Sudlon II among others.
Mayor Osmeña had given them and other police operatives responsible for neutralizing other crime elements cash incentives amounting to more than P500,000.00.
Osmeña shrugged off Dela Rosa’s apology, saying: “Just don’t ask me about the police. Accept (his apology) or not accept, who cares. Sila na magbuot. My priority is the rest.”
The mayor added: “I don’t know. Just remind the PNP Chief, he told me he will give Comendador three months. I asked him personally. He said, ‘okay I’ll give him three months.’ But after one month, he’s (Comendador) out.”
The mayor not only abandoned the cash reward system for each dead crime suspect, but also announced that he would stop giving allowances to new policemen who would be assigned to the city.
Osmeña also said he would wash his hands off the fight against illegal drugs and criminality and leave this all to the police.
Dela Rosa appealed to Osmeña to reconsider his decision, saying the police force in Cebu City needs the mayor in their campaign against illegal drugs.
“He (Osmeña) is an iron-willed leader and he could have been a good partner. I hope he will understand what I’m doing. I beg your indulgence. Have pity on our policemen. They are not enemies. They are your people,” he said.
But if Osmeña refuses to heed his call, Dela Rosa said policemen will continue their campaign against illegal drugs even without the support of the mayor.
“If he won’t support us, what can I do? He has the full control of the government and its resources. But remember that the resources intended for peace and order are not his. Government resources are intended for the people of Cebu. And what will happen to Cebu (City) if he doesn’t support our policemen?” the PNP chief said.
But Osmeña merely shook his head and asked the reporters not to ask him questions involving Dela Rosa.
The PNP Chief said he might as well look for other entities, including private groups and businessmen, who want to help the Cebu City police.
“Although we need the support of the local chief executive, don’t worry. We can survive. We can do it,” he said.
Dela Rosa said they were given by President Rodrigo Duterte three to six months to address crimes, especially the spread of illegal drugs.
And the battle, he said, begins with cleaning their own police ranks.
“Who else will believe us if some policemen are into illegal drugs? I apologize to policemen who feel alluded to by my statement. But just like a father, I will punish erring policemen although it hurts me so much,” he said.
Similar to what he did to about 100 policemen in Region 3 allegedly involved in illegal drugs, Dela Rosa said he will pull out some police officers in the region and assign them to fight the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mindanao and the gun-for-hire group in Abra.
“Just wait how many policemen from Central Visayas will go there,” he said.
He said there are also mayors in the region who are involved in the illegal drugs trade but declined to elaborate or identify the officials during a news conference on Monday morning.
League of Municipalities (LMP) in the Philippines Cebu Chapter president and Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante said the police should first verify their information about mayors involved in illegal drug activities before airing this to the public.
“Lisod kay maguba ang pagkatawo ug ang reputasyon (Your being a person and your reputation will be destroyed),” said Diamante.
He admitted to receiving reports about mayors involved in illegal drug activities, especially those who spent a lot of money in the last elections.
“There is a big chance. Drugs is easy money,” said Diamante, who is also vice president of the LMP Visayas Chapter.
Dela Rosa advised policemen who are using illegal drugs to surrender and not wait for the conduct of drug tests.
“If you’re found to be positive of illegal drugs, I’ll surely dismiss you from service. But if you surrender and submit yourselves to rehabilitation, you’ll remain a policeman,” he said.
The PNP chief was at the Police Regional Office in Central Visyas (PRO-7) yesterday, his first stop of a series of command visits in the country.
Dela Rosa urged policemen to pray so they won’t give in to temptations.
“Maybe, you have forgotten to pray. Pray always so that the Lord will guide you away from illegal drugs,” he said.
Dela Rosa said he will put his career and even his life on the line in order to stop illegal drugs and other crimes.
“This is war. And if I see a drug lord, as long as no one is looking, I’ll shoot him dead. Drug lords easily get away from any charges because they have contacts in the prosecution service, judiciary, and jail officials,” he said.
“I only live once in this world. We can die anytime. But before I die, I would like to leave a mark and that is to do something good to the people. Wa ko nagpahero-hero (I don’t want people to think of me as a hero). I just want to leave a legacy to stop illegal drugs,” he added.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, the new PRO-7 director, said a number of police stations chiefs will be relieved from their posts within the week for failing to arrest even half of the top 10 drug personalities in their respective areas.
He said at least nine policemen who tested positive of illegal drugs were also relieved and were detailed at the Police Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) pending investigation.
Taliño said he will make sure these policemen will be dismissed from service.
“I have to do my job because I’m also answerable to the PNP chief. If I won’t be able to clean the region from drugs in six months, I will give up and surrender. The PNP chief can relieve me,” he said.
“In the same manner, the provincial and city directors should also do their jobs; otherwise, they will be relieved on time,” he said.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.