Active and retired officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) aired their sentiments regarding the involvement of 49 policemen in the October 8, 2022 drug raid in Tondo, Manila, that yielded 990 kilos of "shabu" amounting to P6.7 billion.
Tuesday's continuation of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs' hearing on the drug raid had panel chairman Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa kneeling before the younger batch of policemen reportedly involved in the alleged attempt to cover-up the real story behind the operation.
“Maninikluhod ako sa inyo, please, magsalita na kayo maawa kayo sa Pilipinas... Magsabi na kayo ng totoo. Luluhod ako. Hindi ito power tripping magpakumbaba na ako para ilabas niyo katotohanan alang-alang sa mga anak niyo," Dela Rosa told the policemen being linked to the controversial raid.
Former Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo and a certain Ney Atadero were arrested in the said raid.
In the CCTV footage presented to the panel by the National Police Commission (Napolcom), cops who participated in the raid were seen dividing the confiscated shabu and loading them to different vehicles.
The loot was allegedly brought to the house of former policeman Roman Jimenez.
The Napolcom identified those in the video as follows:
- Capt. Jonathan Sosongco
- PMsg Carlos Bayeta
- PAT Rommel Bugarin
- PAT Hustin Peter Gular
- PAT Hassan Kalaw
- PAT Dennis Carolino
While Sosongco confirmed his team participated in that raid, his subordinates, however, denied the claim.
“No, your honor... hindi po kami kasama sa Bangbang (Manila)... Pinoprotektahan lang namin ang kaso na 'di madismiss. 'Yung against kay Atadero. Ayaw namin masira at makalabas siya," Police Master Sergeant Carlos Bayeta said.
The five cops said the court bars them from answering questions from the senators, as this would affect their case against Atadero.
In the same hearing, Sosongco also admitted that they have no real informant in the raid, bolstering Dela Rosa's theory that the information came from Police Lt. Col. Glenn Gonzales, who kept on insisting that his presence was only requested by his former subordinates, and that he was even the one who exposed the supposed cover-up attempt in that raid.
"So walang informant? Inamin mo na ngayon na niloloko mo kami noon na mayroon kang kausap pero there’s no informant at all," Dela Rosa asked, to which Sosongco affirmed.
CITED IN CONTEMPT
While hurling expletives at the policemen, an exasperated Sen. Jinggoy Estrada moved to the panel to cite them in contempt.
The senator also blocked Sen. Robin Padilla's motion to recall the contempt charge against Sosongco.
“Until you tell us the truth, hindi kayo makakalabas dito. Magba-bakasyon na ang Senado pero hanggang hindi kayo nagsasabi ng totoo, hindi ako papayag na makalabas kayo dito. Mabubulok kayo dito," Estrada said.
Mayo and his former boss, P/Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibañez, were also cited in contempt for either evading questions or giving conflicting answers.
The seven policemen are now locked up in the Senate detention area.
"In-operate ka at ikaw ay nahuli. After several hours in-operate ka, eh san nakuha yung baril," Sen. Raffy Tulfo asked Mayo.
“Let me consult with my lawyer... it’s a legitimate police operation," Mayo said.
"Naniniwala ka ba na ang sarhento kaya nyang mag-accumulate ng ganoon karaming shabu," Dela Rosa asked Ibañez to which he replied, "Perhaps... Hindi ko po alam."
Dela Rosa repeated the question and Ibañez answered that he does not believe Mayo could accumulate that much illegal drugs.
The senator then asked if Ibañez if he believes someone is behind the incident.
"Maybe," Ibañez said, which Dela Rosa injected with: "Why, maybe?"
“Kasi po, wala po talaga akong alam," Ibañez insisted.
ACTIVE PNP AND RETIRED POLICE OFFICIALS' TAKE
But for Napolcom Vice Chairperson and Executive Officer Alberto Bernardo, the PNP problem is "systemic."
"Systemic po kasi 'yung ginagamit nilang performance rating is base sa huli... Mayroon kasing 5 or 10 arrest para mapromote pulis kaya minsan nate-tempt gumawa ng huli para lang magkaroon ng accomplishment," Bernardo said.
"Itong mga taong ito, these are just fall out, titiyakin naming 'yung mga tao mananagot. 'Yung iba they are forced to believe... kagaya ng follow-up operation. 'Yung iba naman gusto lang nilang i-save imahe ng PNP," he added.
“Kung saka-sakali lang, makakatulong ba kung itatalagang drug czar si pangulong Duterte," Sen. Christopher Go asked.
“With regards to appointing the former president as a drug czar, and anything on the campaign of illegal drugs po, I'll be supportive," PNP chief General Benjamin Acorda, Jr., replied.
Meanwhile, active and retired police generals admitted their frustration at the said cops.
“I hope this will serve as an eye opener to those na hindi pa nagbabagong-buhay at to those who have been here now. Nasasaktan ako everytime tayo at nagtatawanan, nagsisinungaling mga pulis. Sana kung walang respeto sa sarili, respeto sa pamilya nila at sa badge at uniform," Acorda said.
“Ako ay retired. PNP general din ako but even now, mago-almost 10 years na akong nakakarinig ng ganitong cases talagang nakakasama ng loob. I am one with PNP and Napolcom na malinis ang ating kapulisan,” retired general and now Dangerous Drugs Board head Catalino Cuy said.
Dela Rosa said he will wrap up his panel's investigation after one more hearing.