MANILA – Coddlers of dismissed police officer Eduardo Acierto will face charges for protecting him, the Philippine National Police (PNP) warned Tuesday.
PNP spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac said manhunt operations continue to arrest Acierto for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of illegal drugs found concealed inside magnetic lifters in Manila last year. The suspect has been in hiding since October 2018.
Acierto was indicted weeks after tagging President Rodrigo Duterte's former economic adviser Michael Yang and a certain Allan Lim in the operation of a large shabu laboratory busted in Davao City in 2004.
Duterte, who had earlier cleared Yang of involvement in illicit activities, then blasted Acierto, citing his criminal involvement.
Based on records from the Bureau of Immigration, Banac said there is no indication that Acierto has left the country. He said the PNP is not discounting the possibility that he is being coddled by some individuals to avoid arrest.
“Ang paalala natin sa mga maaring may kinalaman at posibleng nagkakanlong sa hinahanap na si ex-Police Colonel Acierto, maari pong makakasuhan ang sinumang mapatunayan na nagkakanlong sa isang pinaghahanap ng batas,” Banac said in a press conference at the national police headquarters Camp Crame.
[Our reminder to those who may have knowledge or are coddling wanted ex-Police Colonel Acierto, anyone may be charged if proven to be coddling someone who is wanted by the law.]
Sec. 4 of Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, states that a coddler of a drug smuggler faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to P500,000.
Meanwhile, the PNP welcomed Malacañang’s P10-million bounty for information that could lead to Acierto's arrest.
“Definitely, this will be a big help with the ongoing manhunt operations being conducted against ex-Police Colonel Eduardo Acierto. But with or without the reward money, mandato po ng PNP talaga na hanapin po siya bilang paguutos po ng korte (it is the mandate of the PNP to really hunt him down as ordered by the court),” Banac said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 35 on April 12 issued an arrest warrant against Acierto on charges of illegal importation of dangerous drugs under Sec. 4 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Also ordered arrested along with Acierto are former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency deputy chief Ismael Fajardo Jr., former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban and 5 others behind VECABA Trading, the consignee of 2 unclaimed magnetic lifters in the Port of Manila where shabu was found.