Criminal raps filed vs. 50 cops in P6.7-B shabu haul

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

June 13, 2023, 9:54 pm

<p><em>(Screengrab from DILG Facebook live video)</em></p>

(Screengrab from DILG Facebook live video)

MANILA – Criminal cases have been filed against 50 police officers before the Office of the Ombudsman for their involvement in the alleged cover-up in the PHP6.7-billion drug bust in October last year, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said on Tuesday.

The number includes 12 police commissioned officers (PCO) and 38 police non-commissioned officers (PNCO).

The 12 commissioned officers charged with criminal cases include Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr., former deputy chief for operations; Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, former Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) chief; Col. Julian Olonan, Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibanez, Lt. Col. Glen Gonzales, Lt. Col. Dhefrey Punzalan, Maj. Michael Salmingo, Lt. Jonathan Sosongco, Lt. Jefrrey Padilla, Lt. Randolph Pinon, Lt. Silverio Bulleser II and Lt. Ashrap Amerol.

National Police Commission (Napolcom) vice chairman and executive officer Alberto Bernardo, meanwhile, noted that the 38 non-commissioned officers charged include Senior Master Sgt. Jerrywin Rebosora, Master Sgt. Lorenzo Catarata, Senior Master Sgt. Roman Jimenez, Senior Master Sgt. Marian Mananghaya, Master Sgt. Bryan Rodas, Staff Sgt. Clitton de Leon, Staff Sgt. Arnold Tibay, Staff Sgt. Ronnie Alonzo, Pat. Joe Marie Cristobal, Master Sgt. Carlo Bayeta, Pat. Dennis Carolino, Pat. Rommar Bugarin, Pat. Hassan Kalaw, Pat. Hustin Peter Gular, Chief Master Sgt. Emmanuele Docena, Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Barit, Master Sgt. Alejandro Flores, Cpl. Jose Joey Igana IV, Cpl. Joan Franceslynn Taradji and Cpl. Joshua Ivan Baltazar.

Also charged were Cpl. Jhon Roland Gelacio, Pat. Adrian Florie Sanchez, Pat. Nathaniel Gomez, Pat Windel de Ramos, Pat. Mario Atchuela Jr., Pat. Jayson Tomas, Pat. Rommel Fabian, Pat. Kyhke Ramilo, Pat Nemar Baylon, Pat. Maico Bien Baldeo, Pat. Mara Magaway, Pat. Ivan Jay Calcetas, Pat Abigail Tumanguil, Pat. Dhonna May Facton, Pat. Melvin Barbo, Pat. James Osalvo, Pat. Darious Camacho and Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr.

Abalos said the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Napolcom filed the cases for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; RA 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act as amended; Revised Penal Code, in particular, Article 171 on Falsification, Article 183 on Perjury, Article 184 on False Testimony and Article 217 for Malversation of Public Property; and Presidential Decree No. 1829 or Obstruction of Justice were filed against the police officers before the Office of the Ombudsman on June 9.

“Aside from the criminal charges filed against these police officers, the Napolcom is conducting administrative proceedings. The Napolcom has completed its pre-charge investigation against the 48 PNP officers and members that appeared in the video and expects to issue its resolution after about 15 days," Abalos said in a press briefing at DILG main office in Quezon City.

He explained that the filing of cases stemmed from the investigation by Napolcom and the PNP’s Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) on the 990-kg shabu haul worth PHP6.7 billion in Manila last year.

He explained that a “pre-charge investigation” is similar to a preliminary investigation under a fiscal.

“If the counter-affidavits of the respondents are found insufficient, the Napolcom shall proceed to file formal charges against them. 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,’’ Abalos stressed.

The DILG chief clarified that these criminal cases were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman and the administrative case proceedings are now ongoing.

For his part, Bernardo stressed that the first step in their probe was based on the CCTV footage where the police officers claimed that two unnamed cohorts were involved in the alleged illegal drug deal.

With this claim, Bernardo said that PNP and the Napolcom decided to include the two others in the criminal case based on "conspiracy theory."

Bernardo, however, did not divulge their names in observance of due process.

Last April, Abalos made public closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showing police officers allegedly attempting to pilfer 42 kilograms of the 990 kilograms of shabu seized.

Abalos said they are optimistic about the developments on the case, which aims to weed out the erring cops from the PNP and help clean the organization’s image.

Abalos also reported that on top of the criminal cases filed before the Ombudsman, administrative cases will also be filed against the erring police officials.

Among the administrative cases that would be filed are grave misconduct and grave neglect of duty -- both of which are punishable with dismissal from the police service and forfeiture of their benefits.

Mayo, who was tagged in the 990 kilos of shabu seized in Manila last year, was already deployed to Mindanao as punishment for alleged involvement in illegal drugs in 2016 but later returned as PDEG intelligence officer for Metro Manila. (PNA)