First, we appreciate the support that the PDEA has given us in our joint operations against illegal drugs. However, with all due respect, I cannot agree completely with PDEA Director Aaron Aquino’s statement in the Senate hearing yesterday that the main reason illegal drugs still proliferate is primarily due to the recycling of drugs by policemen themselves. Unless they can identify to us these said policemen with validated reports, the sweeping statement made by the PDEA Director is not necessarily true, on face value.
Let me talk Metro Manila. Probably, there may still be isolated and limited cases of drug recycling here in the ranks of the Metro police force, but I do not believe these are rampant enough to constitute the PRIMARY reason for the continuing drug trade in Metro Manila. In fact, I would like to believe that this drug recycling malpractice is not existent anymore.
When I was QCPD Director 2 years or so ago, I was already aware of this disease of recycling especially among Drug Enforcement Units in the entire district. As a remedial measure, I relieved ALL the personnel of the Drug enforcement units from the District down to the police stations, and eventually replaced all with new personnel. My belief was that the old personnel in these units were inadvertently contaminated by the malpractices involving illegal drugs – including recycling, hulidaps and kidnapping for ransom by rogue cops.
My strategy was to make sure that new, fresh and clean police officers will wage the honest battle against illegal drugs. All told, I gradually relieved close to 500 policemen from our ranks. Some were reassigned to other regions, while others were charged with administrative and criminal complaints for possible dismissal from the ranks.
Here in the NCRPO, since June 1, 2018 when I started my term, I have confronted and relieved a number of policemen involved in drug related cases and charged them with administrative and criminal complaints with the ultimate intent of having them dismissed from the service. In most of these cases, I ordered the wholesale relief of all members of the entire Unit and/or all the personnel of the police station where the scalawags belonged, because I maintain that where there is a police scalawag, others around him may be contaminated. Also, by virtue of command responsibility, I have relieved police station commanders, chiefs of police, and one district director.
As a result of this policy, our police personnel in all levels now maintain a keen eye on their companions for fear of getting penalized and their jobs jeopardized because of possible indiscriminate practices of the man next to him. No policeman now hesitates to come to us if they know of irregularities in their midst, especially on drugs. Every policeman is now alert and vigilant, and fully aware of his surroundings. As a result, the NCRPO has not recorded any drug-related incident involving its active members in the past several months.
The participation of the public is also a significant factor in curtailing drug related activities by our policemen. The NCRPO has earned the trust and respect of the residents in Metro Manila, and for this reason, the residents do not hesitate to report scalawags and abusive cops through our text hot lines.
That is why the claim of PDEA that the primary reason for the proliferation of drugs in Metro Manila is due to recycling by policemen defies logic. The aggression and ferocity by which we have dealt with these past narco-cops is enough to instill dread and fear among our commanders and our ranks. In fact, since the start of my term, we instituted a witch hunt for this type of cops. Now, our policemen keep clean for fear of losing their good paying jobs.
More importantly, by showing the way, we have started to re-generate or re-launch the sense of purpose of the man in uniform. With this positive turnaround, I firmly believe that a new culture of uprightness is upon us.
On the other hand, I like to say that in the past 2 consecutive days, the NCRPO was able to conduct positive operations against big time or high value targets. Last Sunday, our operatives neutralized Edgardo Labay Alfonso, a drug courier in an armed encounter in Quezon City and seized from his fallen body, 4 packs of Shabu estimated at PESOS: 27 Million in street value. Then, yesterday Monday, as a follow up to Sunday’s operation, our operatives were able to seize 40 kilos of Shabu with a street value of PESOS: 204 Million, from Manolito Lugo Carlos, a drug courier in Pasig – both operations, right in the heart of Metro Manila.
Clearly, it is these big time distributors and huge quantities that sustain drug proliferation not only in Metro Manila but in other regions as well. This is where our drug agencies like the PDEA should now focus on. Where are these coming from? Who are responsible? How do these people get away with bringing in such voluminous amounts of drugs in the country? Why is there a continuous huge supply available for distribution? How do these volumes come into Metro Manila?
This is what the Senate should explore, examine and help resolve through legislation. From our operations this week where we discovered huge volumes of Shabu, it is sad to note that the war on drugs is far from over. Truly, our country can use all the help that the honorable Senate can provide.
Clearly too, the matter of policemen in the recycling business must be isolated cases. We are continually monitoring our ranks so we can catch these scalawags and weed them out. In any event, the NCRPO can handle these cases, should they come up. For this reason, we do not need to take the precious time and attention of the Senate of the country. With the help of the public, we can handle this business ourselves.