MANILA - More than 700 members of the Philippine National Police are currently in the government's drug watchlist, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino said Tuesday.
"Some are users, some are pushers, most of them are protectors," he said.
Aquino said he sacked more than 140 cops in Central Luzon and reassigned them to Mindanao during his stint as the regional director of Police Regional Office 3.
He also admitted that recycling among policemen in PRO3 has been rampant before due to large seizures from drug laboratories.
"All sorts 'yan mga kaso ng kung ano-ano, extortion, recycling, most of them are involved in illegal drugs. The band aid solution during that time was itapon sa Mindanao to cut their doings and at the same time kung may network sila," Aquino said.
The PDEA chief revealed most of the "ninja cops" have been reassigned to the National Capital Region and are now involved in the recycling of illegal drugs.
"When I was still with the PNP, there's still generals, there's still colonels, recycling drugs," he said.
The PDEA chief added that ninja cops are also involved in the kidnapping of supposed foreign drug chemists and suspects.
"Example, papasukin ang isang drug lab mahuhuli ang drug chemist. Kikidnapin nila 'yun, tutubusin ng P70 million 'yun. Babayad 'yung mga drug syndicates… gawain ng ninja cops 'yun," he said.
(For example, authorities will raid a drug lab, they will kidnap the drug chemist and ask for P70 million from drug syndicates. That's what ninja cops do.)
Aquino said PDEA will support any investigation but he leaves it to the Department of the Interior and Local Government to reveal the names of the ''ninja cops."
"PDEA is not exempted, meron din kami nafa-file na mga kaso against PDEA agents, 'yung iba ongoing pa (There are cases filed against PDEA agents, some cases are ongoing)," he said.
The PDEA chief also revealed that a “drug queen”, who is behind the buying of seized drugs from unscrupulous law enforcement agents, has left the country and gone into hiding.
Aquino responded to claims of PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde on 'inter-agency courtesy,' saying they have proposed a joint investigation since 2018 on the "ninja cops" and the "drug queen."
"Nag-leak, either from PDEA, PNP or NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) di ko alam what really happened, nasa planning stage pa lang kami, nakakarating information sa kanila.. initially nasa abroad (ngayon)," he said.
(The information leaked, either from PDEA, PNP or NBI, I don't know what really happened. We were on the planning stage when the information reached them. The drug queen is now abroad.)