Gordon eyes protection of witnesses vs ‘ninja cops’

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2019 03:37 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2019 05:42 PM

MANILA - Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday sought to protect those who may testify against police officials linked to the reselling of illegal drugs, but stopped short of endorsing witnesses to the government’s protection program.

Gordon said he has asked Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to have the testimonies of 3 police officials from Mexico, Pampanga and barangay officials perpetuated “in case something happens to them.”

The senator was referring to police and village officials who earlier gave corroborative statements against 13 “ninja cops” who allegedly sold 160 kilograms of shabu worth around P648 million in 2013.

Witnesses who undergo a perpetuation of testimony have to execute an affidavit before a court to ensure that their testimonial evidence will be admissible even if they disappear, Gordon told reporters in a phone interview.

“We want to be sure that the cover of the story sticks,” said Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which spearheaded the investigation against Pampanga’s “ninja cops.”

“Para sa ganun, whatever happens, if he (witness) dies accidentally, there is that testimony that will be admissible,” he said.

It is up to the justice department if witnesses who appeared before the weeks-long Senate probe on the “ninja cops” scandal will be admitted to the Witness Protection Program, Gordon said.

“I leave it to the discretion of Sec. Guevarra but if I were him, I would do it,” he said.

Former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier said the 13 “ninja cops” were also in danger since the illegal activity within the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been exposed.

“If you look at the civilian agents involved, all of them are all already dead, they were killed. Anything can happen,” Magalong told ANC’s Early Edition.

"They have to make sure that nothing happens to them because only one is in jail, only (Rodney) Baloyo,” he said. “The rest are still performing functions as policemen or [in] floating status.”