'Ninja cops' botched arrest of 'drug queen', says PH drug agency

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2019 10:03 AM

MANILA - Scalawag police officers foiled several attempts to arrest a "drug queen" who allegedly buys and redistributes narcotics seized in government operations, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency claimed Tuesday.

Policemen last year were tapped to arrest the suspect in 2 operations headed by the National Bureau of Investigation and another one by PDEA, said its Director General Aaron Aquino.

"Unfortunately, because of the meddling of ninja cops, nag-negative lahat ng operations ng NBI at saka kami... May ahas talaga at before kami pumunta sa target area, e wala na," he told radio DZMM.

(All operations by the NBI and us turned out negative. There really is a 'snake' and before we reach the area, the subject has already fled.)

The Philippine National Police has the names of the alleged rogue cops, said Aquino, adding that he was not sure if charges had been lodged against them.

INTERNAL CLEANSING

The PNP and PDEA, both at the helm of President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics crackdown, should prioritize weeding out corrupt members, he said.

Aquino said he ordered K-9 units to sweep the barracks of PDEA agents in Metro Manila 2 weeks ago after receiving reports that illegal drugs were kept there.

"Talagang pinaamoy namin lahat ng mga cabinet, tables, drawers nila. May nade-detect e, iyong aso umuupo e although walang drugs doon. In short, siguro may mga residue ng drugs doon," he said.

(We made them smell all cabinets, tables, drawers. The dogs detected something because they sat there, although no drugs were found. In short, they may have been drug residue there.)

"Iyon ang medyo tutukan natin: iyong internal cleansing natin at mga ginagawang illegal ng tauhan natin," he added.

(We should focus on that: our internal cleansing and the illegal activities of our members.)

POLICE HAVE 'KEEN EYES' ON MEMBERS

Metro Manila Police chief Major Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, however, said he "cannot agree completely" that the recycling of drugs has worsened.

"While it is true na posibleng meron pa rin iyan... ibang-iba ang disiplina at sitwasyon natin ngayon (the discipline and situation now are very different)," he reasoned in a separate DZMM interview.

"We maintain a keen eye on our companions at natatakot na sila na baka ma-penalize o ma-jeopardize ang kanilang trabaho dahil sa mataas na ang sweldo nila," he said.

(They fear being penalized or jeopardizing their jobs because their salary has increased.)

Some 500 anti-narcotics officers were removed from their post due to alleged irregularities in Quezon City when Eleazar was still its police chief, he said.

As of May, 113 police personnel have been arrested and 9 killed during police operations for allegedly resisting arrest, as 250 police officers face charges, the Philippine National Police earlier said.

JAIL MESS

During PDEA's budget hearing on Monday, Aquino said he also urged lawmakers to check the management of city and provincial jails, following "many" instances in which anti-narcotics agents had to wait for up to 3 hours before they were allowed to inspect these facilities.

The PDEA chief said he also received reports that some inmates had been released from jails temporarily to carry out hit jobs and other illegal activities ordered by politicians.

There was no immediate response from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology regarding Aquino's claim.