Ex-CIDG chief confirms 'agaw bato' scheme, will name cops in drug recycling


Posted at Sep 19 2019 12:03 PM

MANILA - It's called "agaw bato" - a scam by corrupt cops who purposely keep seized narcotics during anti-illegal drug operations to be sold later.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, a former chief of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), made the revelation during Thursday's Senate inquiry on alleged illegal activities inside New Bilbid Prison including the sale of good conduct time allowance to high-profile inmates.

In his testimony, Magalong backed the revelation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority that unscrupulous police officers recycle illegal drugs seized during narcotics operations to sell or use as planted evidence.

"I believe it’s still existing until now," Magalong said.

He added he will reveal names of police officers involved in the recycling of illegal drugs in an executive session of the Senate.

"Hindi siguro ganun ka-grabe nung nasa PDEA pa po ako at PNP. Iba na po 'yung scale ng kanilang operation," he added.

(It's not that severe compared with when I was still at the PDEA and PNP. Their scale of operation has changed.)

Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon said the size of the drug recycling operations does not matter.

"Nevertheless, whether small or large, the fact that there are law enforcers engaged in this kind of activity is something we must condemn and stop. Because our anti-drug campaign will be a laughingstock if this continues," he said.

Magalong said that during his time as CIDG chief, some corrupt cops would also offer to free arrested Chinese drug lords for P50 million.

"Part of their modus operandi is to arrest Chinese drug traffickers and seize illegal drugs. They would later free them in exchange for money and arrest another Chinese national as replacement of the freed drug trafficker," he said in his affidavit, which he also submitted to the House of Representatives in 2015.

Police investigation revealed that personalities involved in the alleged scheme transact with inmates inside the national penitentiary, Magalong said.

"Dun po sa aming investigation lumalabas po na (Our investigation revealed) all roads practically lead to the New Bilibid Prison," he said.

"We found out that despite being detained inside NBP, these Chinese drug personalities continued to remotely manage the drug trade in the entire country."