Senate panel cites Mayo, 6 others in contempt for shabu ‘cover-up’

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs has cited in contempt seven (7) anti-drug operatives believed to be part of a grand “cover-up” in the P6.7-billion shabu that was seized in Manila on October, 2022.

Those cited in contempt are Police Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr. and his boss, National Capital Region (NCR) Drug Enforcement (DEG) officer-in-charge Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibañez.

Other persons cited in contempt are Police Master Sgt. Carlo Bayeta, Patrolman Hasan Kalaw, Patrolman Dennis Carolina, Patrolman Rommar Bugarin and Patrolman Hustin Peter Gular.

The five officials were cited in contempt by the panel, headed by Sen. Ronald “Bato” del Rosa, after they insisted that they were not part of the arresting team that caught Mayo despite the confirmation of Police Capt. Jonathan Sosongco, the head of the arresting team with the five.

The five policemen had insisted that it wasn’t Mayo whom they arrested but Ney Atadero, the inmate and alleged accomplice of the former.

Atadero was the first one arrested at the WPD Lending Company; Mayo on the other hand was arrested in Bambang, in Tondo, Manila as part of the follow-up operations, which led to the discovery of at least 990 kilograms of crystal meth in Mayo’s WPD Lending office.

The officials invoked their right to remain silent when they were grilled by Dela Rosa and Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, which eventually led the latter to lose his cool.

Estrada hurled tirades against the five when they repeatedly invoked their right against self-incrimination when asked whether they received a call or message from Sosongco for the operation.

Sosongco has also been cited in contempt by the panel last week for being evasive when asked to divulge information regarding his alleged “informant.”

After being cited in contempt, Estrada warned the five officials they would remain in detention for a long time saying he will ask the panel not to hold any more further hearings until they are ready to cooperate with the Senate’s investigation.

On the other hand, Ibañez also claimed innocence saying he was not aware of his subordinate’s activities.

Sen. Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo, however, doubted Ibañez’s claims: “How come you don’t know? This is your subordinate.”

Tulfo pointed out to Ibañez that it was him who recommended Mayo to be part of the PNP’s Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG).

“Do you already know that he is doing something wrong or are you just tolerating him?” Tulfo asked Ibañez.

But Ibañez remained adamant and insisted he didn’t know what Mayo was up to.

Dela Rosa then concurred with Tulfo on the need to cite him and Mayo in contempt, after the latter also refused to provide details when asked how he reportedly amassed P6.7-billion worth of shabu.

Dela Rosa approved the motion and eventually ordered the Senate Sergeant at Arms to take them to the Upper Chamber’s detention room at the basement.