By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte did not mince words about what to do with policemen involved in recycling and selling confiscated illegal drugs: they should be killed.
The President slammed the alleged pilferage of seized illegal drugs in the government’s anti-drug operations during a speech in Malacañang.
“Totoo ‘yang corruption sa droga. ‘Yang recycle sinasabi lagi. Hindi – p***** i** patayin mo talaga lahat ng pulis na crooked [Corruption in illegal drugs is true, the recycling they are saying , son of a b*tch kill all the crooked cops],” he said during the oath-taking of new government officials at the Palace.
In an interview with reporters following his speech, Duterte admitted that the pilferage of confiscated drugs involving cops was prevalent but the government is hard-pressed to resolve the problem.
He explained that he could not simply fire errant cops because they must face an investigation as part of due process. “Well I have to have evidence, kaya nga sabi ko sundan na lang muna ninyo,” he said.
He revealed that some cops report the seizure of 10 kilograms of illegal drugs instead of the actual 20 kilos, and sell these illegal drugs back to the market.
“Tapos may award pa yan sila. Tapos yung iba irecycle. Ipagbili nila, marami yan. And it’s so prevalent, even the present set up of government hindi mo makuha ito. You know you cannot just fire him for due process, right to be heard, investigation. Talo talaga ang gobyerno sa totoo lang,” he said.
“With so many restrictions, under the bill of rights since this is a democracy, hanggang diyan lang talaga tayo (we can only do so much)” he added.
Duterte, however, pledged that his administration would strive to reduce the country’s drug problem before the end of term.
“You cannot be a superman here, but little by little maybe towards the end I promise you that by the end of my term at least mamenos menos ang sakit ng ulo,” he said.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino had earlier revealed during a Senate hearing on PDEA’s budget that some anti-narcotics agents are involved in the sale of seized illegal drugs or used them as planted evidence in fake operations.
Aquino blamed the court’s slow order to destroy confiscated illegal drugs for the increasing inventory of illicit substance.
But while Senator Franklin Drilon found Aquino’s revelations credible, this did not sit well with Senator Ronald dela Rosa saying these could be rumors to demoralize the police force.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar likewise denied that the recycling of seized illegal drugs by cops are still “rampant.”
“With due respect to the PDEA chief, I cannot agree with that. ‘Yung sinabing rampant ang recycling at ito ang main reason ng proliferation, parang sinabi rin na walang kuwenta lahat ng ginawa not only by the police but also the public and the barangay officials na magkasama dito,” Eleazar said Tuesday.
“Madaling i-accuse na ganun, pero ang point ko lang, the intervention and efforts that have been made by each and everyone in the hierarchy of the PNP ay hindi natin pwedeng matawaran. We have contributed so much in the campaign against illegal drugs,” Eleazar mentioned in his speech.
“For the first three years of this administration, the index crime, which is the barometer of the peace and order, ay bumaba sa Metro Manila ng 58 percent and that is because of the campaign against illegal drugs na pinagtulungan nating lahat,” he emphasized.
While there are still some cases of illegal drug recycling among cops, he explained that those involved had already been removed from the service or had gone AWOL (absent without official leave).
“Ito ang gusto kong linawin, ‘yung mga sinasabi nila na nahuling mga pulis o involved sa recycling of drugs, most of them mga AWOL na yan, mga tinanggal na natin,” Eleazar said in an interview.
The NCRPO director also said that he will consider the claims of PDEA chief Aaron Aquino as” hearsay,” unless he will show him proof of his accusations that illegal drug recycling is rampant within the police force. (With a report from Alexandria San Juan)