MANILA (UPDATE/CORRECTION) - The regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in CALABARZON and his 61 agents have been relieved due to cases of irregularities in their area, the agency's Director General Aaron Aquino said Friday.
"They were discharged from duties after intelligence reports linking them to a series of unlawful arrests and extortion activities in the provinces of Batangas & Cavite," Aquino said in a statement.
PDEA said Southern Tagalog Director Archie Grande's office also issued identification cards to Jhay-ar Repana and Joseph Borjal, who were not authorized to have these IDs.
Repana and Borjal were arrested in Sta. Rosa, Laguna after a chase and shootout with the Parañaque police. Sachets of shabu and a PDEA ID were found in their possession.
Police said their case was not the first where a supposed PDEA agent was involved in a crime.
In February, an armed group wearing PDEA uniforms was caught in a CCTV footage stealing from a group of young people. It was later learned the criminals were extorting money from them.
Aquino on Friday explained that the PDEA never carried the term "confidential agent" and only had project-based assets and informants who were asked to work for a specific period of time.
Assets, according to Aquino, were not issued identification cards and were only made to sign agreement forms.
Grande will be replaced by Director Adrian Alvariño while 39 more agents from different PDEA offices are set to report to the Southern Tagalog region office, Aquino said.
Relieved PDEA agents, meanwhile, will report to the agency's headquarters in Quezon City on Monday.-- report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News
ERRATUM: An earlier version of this story said there were 62 PDEA agents relieved along with Grande. ABS-CBN regrets the error.