DOJ to re-investigate charges vs. 13 ‘ninja’ cops

Published October 6, 2019, 6:03 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Rey Panaligan

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Sunday the Department of Justice (DOJ) will re-investigate the 2013 illegal drug operation in Pampanga where the so-called “ninja cops” kept 160 kilos of shabu and got P50 million in exchange for the release of suspected drug lord Johnson Lee.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

In an interview, Guevarra said he will form a new panel of prosecutors on Monday to re-investigate the charges which have been dismissed and the automatic review by the DOJ on the dismissal order has been pending since 2017.

To be re-investigated is the case of the 13 cops led by Police Major Rodney Baloyo.

“In the light of new evidence unfolding, and in the interest of justice, the DOJ will reopen the case of Baloyo, et al. and will create a new panel of state prosecutors to conduct the reinvestigation,” Guevarra said in a viber message to reporters covering the DOJ.

He said all parties concerned in the case will be given the opportunity to air their side.

“Both sides will be given ample opportunity to present additional evidence, and we will try to resolve in a month’s time, considering that this automatic review has been pending since 2017,” he added.

The 13 policemen were charged with violations of three sections of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2001.

These are violations of Section 27 on misappropriation, Section 21 on planting of evidence, and Section 32 on the custody and disposition of the evidence.

Instead of dismissal from the service as ordered in 2014, the 13 policemen were merely demoted to one rank lower.

During the Senate’s inquiry on the issue last week, many senators noted the inconsistencies on the account of the illegal drugs raid held in Pampanga in 2013.

As a result, Baloyo was held in contempt and ordered detained.