DOJ set to conduct re-investigation of raps vs ‘ninja cops’

Published October 10, 2019, 6:39 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Jeffrey Damicog

Police Major Rodney Baloyo and 12 other so-called “ninja cops” have been summoned to the Department of Justice (DOJ) this October 16 and face the criminal complaint against them concerning the questionable 2013 illegal drug operations in Pampanga.

Department of Justice (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Justice (MANILA BULLETIN)

The special panel of prosecutors handling the case has issued the subpoenas which ordered Baloyo and his 12 co-respondents to appear on the scheduled preliminary investigation hearing of the complaint.

“Under and by virtue of the authority vested in us by law and Department Order No. 528 issued on 07 October 2019, you are hereby directed to appear for the reinvestigation of the above-captioned complaint and to submit any additional evidence before us on October 16, 2019 at 10:00’clock in the morning,” read a portion of the subpoena.

“Fail not under the penalty of law,” the subpoena warned.

Aside from Baloyo, the subpoenas summoned his co-respondent police officers, namely, Sr. Insp. Joven Bognot De Guzman Jr., SPO1 Jules Lacap Maniago, SPO1 Donald Castro Roque, SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos, SPO1 Rommel Munoz Vital, SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio, SPO1 Eligio Dayos Valeroso, PO3 Dindo Singian Dizon, PO3 Gilbert Angeles De Vera, PO3 Encarnacion Guerrero Jr., PO2 Anthony Loleng Lacamana, and PO3 Dante M. Dizon.

Just last Monday (Oct. 7), Guevarra issued Department Order No. 528 which created a special panel of prosecutors who will conduct a re-investigation of the dismissed cases against 13 so-called “ninja cops”.

The panel is composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez and Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Gino Paulo Santiago.

“The Special Panel of Prosecutors is hereby directed to immediately conduct the necessary hearings and resolve the case within thirty days from date hereof. If warranted by the evidence, the Special Panel of Prosecutors is further directed to file the corresponding information before the appropriate court,” read the order.

Citing Section 11 of the 2000 National Prosecution Service Rules on Appeal, the Secretary explained it authorizes him “to order the conduct of a reinvestigation of cases whenever deemed necessary.”

The case concerns the 2013 illegal drugs operations in Pampanga where the 13 policemen involved in the operation allegedly kept 160 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride which is locally known as shabu as well as received P50 million and new sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in exchange for the release of alleged Chinese drug trader Johnson Lee.

Following the operation, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) filed before the DOJ a criminal complaint against the 13 policemen who were led by Baloyo at that time.

The 13 were charged for violating Republic Act 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), particularly Sections 27 (misappropriation), 29 (planting), and 32 (custody and disposition).

However, the case was dismissed in 2017 by prosecutors who conducted the preliminary investigation then.

The PNP-CIDG eventually appealed the dismissal before the DOJ by filing a petition for review.