MANILA (UPDATED) -- The Philippine National Police on Sunday said it is open to expanding its Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to probe deeper into the 990 kilos seized in drug raid in Manila last year.
This, after the SITG led by PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management Director Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz publicized its recommendations into the alleged pilferage of 42 kilos of shabu by elements of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, which was eventually returned.
Cruz said the SITG has conducted 21 case conferences that ended last March 31. They have three copies of the final draft of the Investigation Report, one of which has already been sent to the office of the Chief PNP Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. Another copy was sent to the National Police Commission (Napolcom), and the other is for the SITG.
Initially, it was thought that 30 kilos were stolen, but Police Master Sgt. Jerrywin Rebosora surrendered 42 kilos of shabu which was abandoned inside a car that was parked unattended in front of Boni Serrano gate of Camp Crame in Quezon City.
The incident was discovered through a spliced video that showed Rebosora and two other cops loading luggage inside a white sedan.
But when the entire CCTV footage was retrieved, it was found out that some of the PDEG operatives took more.
“It was observed in the video that personalities have been loading luggage and boxes inside civilian vehicles. It was also noticed that several motorcycles were used by some personalities to transport luggage coming from the WPD lending establishment,” said Cruz.
Cruz admitted the demoralization among the PNPs ranks.
“Very obvious. Sa tagal naming iniingatan ang aming uniporme, inaasahan namin na may mga ganitong pangyayari pero it’s a matter of perception. (For as long as we have been keeping our uniforms, we expect such incidents to happen but it's a matter of perception),” Cruz told reporters during a press briefing on the recommendations of criminal and administrative liability of the 49 personnel of the PDEG, including a former chief in the massive cover-up involving PHP6.7 billion worth of confiscated shabu in Manila.
Cruz said Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo and 48 other members of PDEG Special Operations Unit 4A and Intel & Foreign Liaison Division (IFLD) will face charges both administrative and criminal for the alleged cover-up and they will be facing different cases based on their participation in the incident.
Cruz said Domingo, who was relieved and now assigned to the Office of the Chief PNP, will face stiffer charges because of command responsibility.
“Bakit pa nagkaroon ng mga officers kung nangyayari ang mga ito. Kung parang bakod yan, bakit puro hollow blocks ang bakod mo, walang poste. So poste yun yung mga officers para matibay hindi ba so if you will not accept responsibility, hindi ka dapat diyan sa mga posisyon na yan and unfortunately itong nakita natin, the officers are the ones doing it. So yun ang ating tinututukan ngayon,” Cruz stressed.
(Why were there officers if these things were happening. If that looks like a fence, why is your fence made of hollow blocks, without poles. So the officers are the post to be strong, right? So if you will not accept responsibility, you should not be there in those positions and unfortunately we saw it, the officers are the ones doing it. So that's what we're focusing on right now.)
Cruz said they were also open to expanding the probe, and cooperating with any parallel investigations into the matter.
Meanwhile, House Speak Martin Romualdez expressed dismay at the reports of police's involvement in the missing illegal drugs.
"I am dismayed and saddened to learn that some of those accused of alleged involvement are members of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, the very same people tasked to go after peddlers of illegal drugs,” he said in a statement.
Romualdez also urged the PNP to reorganize its drug unit to avoid similar incidents in the future.
"While an in-depth investigation to ascertain the truth is being undertaken, measures to reorganize the police force’s drug unit should be implemented," he added.