PDEA chief: Someone from DOJ took bribe offer from 'Alabang Boys'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 30 2008 10:03 AM | Updated as of Dec 30 2008 07:07 PM

The chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA) said Tuesday that he is sure someone from the Department of Justice received bribe money in exchange of the dismissal of the drug case against the so-called “Alabang Boys.”

"We have to look at the paper trail, starting from the fiscal, then we work our way up. I'm not at liberty to tell you right now, but at the proper time, we will tell you what we know," PDEA chief Dionisio Santiago told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."

Santiago said he is sure someone received a huge amount of money that led to the DOJ’s dismissal of the drug cases filed by PDEA against Richard Santos Brodett, Jorge Jordana Joseph and Joseph Ramirez Tecson.

The three rich kids were nabbed by PDEA agents in separate drug buy-bust operations in Ayala Alabang and Araneta Center in Quezon City on September 20.

Santiago said in a recent Umagang Kay Ganda interview that the Brodett kid had verbally admitted to his father, while in the presence of PDEA agents, that the drugs found in his possession was his.

The PDEA chief said Brodett also pointed to the police the drugs in his car, which were used by the agency as evidence in the drug case.

The items seized from the three boys include 60 ecstasy tablets, small bags of marijuana, and sachets of cocaine.

The case was dismissed early this month by the DOJ due to lack of evidence.

Santiago said that before the case dismissal, PDEA’s public information office received a text message from one of the suspects’ family.

“The message said, coming from one of the [suspects’] family. ‘Ano pa ba ang problema ng General Santiago na ‘yan eh nabayaran na siya,’” the PDEA chief said.

Santiago, who denied receiving any amount from the suspects’ family, said the message was a “clear” sign that someone out of PDEA received bribe money.

The PDEA chief said that field agents also got bribe offers through text messages. He said some messages mentioned clearly the amount of money being offered for bribe.

Santiago also revealed that in one of the messages sent to PDEA, one of the suspects’ families were very sure that the ‘Alabang Boys’ will be released before Christmas.

"There are many different messages which reach the operating unit, even the legal department. There are also threats, but some are very clear: they're confident that they (Alabang Boys) will be out by December, before Christmas," he said.

Not the first time

Santiago asked the DOJ leadership to conduct deeper investigation to identify its erring prosecutors who may be receiving bribes in exchange of the dismissal of several drug cases.

He said the Alabang Boys’ case is only one of the sensational drug cases that have been dubiously dismissed by DOJ prosecutors.

Santiago cited for example the case of an internationally wanted drug personality, Cai Qing Hai alias Bruce Esteban Ong.

On Oct. 30, 2007, PDEA operatives and Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force raided a drug laboratory in Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, and arrested Cai and three other Chinese nationals.

Authorities highlighted the arrest of Cai Qing Hai, who was wanted in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand for his international drug connections.

However, the charges against the four Chinese nationals were dropped a few months after the arrest.

Aside from the three being caught inside the raided shabu laboratory, Santiago said they have collected strong evidence against the Cai and his group, but the case was still dismissed by DOJ citing “insufficiency of evidence.”

“Cai Qing Hai was arrested [in the Philippines], but the case was dismissed. He’s an international target,” Santiago said.

He said the government will not be able to solve the drug menace in the country if the justice system does not get rid of erring prosecutors and court personnel.

“We should have conscience. People involved in this kind of cases (Alabang Boys) don’t have conscience,” he added.