By Aaron Recuenco
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has assured that due process of law will be afforded the five policemen implicated in the smuggling of tons of “shabu” through magnetic lifters that got past Customs authorities last August.
It was learned that the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has also initiated the administrative charges against Senior Superintendent Leonardo Suan, Supt. Lorenzo Bacia, Insp. Lito Pirote, Insp. Conrado Caragdag and SPO4 Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag.
The six were included in the drug matrix disclosed by President Duterte who are reportedly in cahoots with former senior police officials Eduard Acierto and Ismael Fajardo in the smuggling of shabu.
“We cannot confirm if they are the ones indeed, let the court decide on that,” said Albayalde.
“We cannot assume that they are guilty unless proven so they will be given due process,” he added.
The six cops were already placed under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in order to make them available in all the investigation proceedings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The six cops, led by Suan, said they welcome the investigation as they expressed confidence that their names would be cleared.
Albayalde, for his part, said that they are not discounting the possibility that more policemen’s name would crop up at the course of the investigation.
And if that happens, he vowed that those found guilty would be immediately dismissed from the service.
Why me? – Suan
Suan, who had helped craft the government’s war on drugs, ironically found himself at the center of the controversial smuggling of drugs into the country under the noses of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Suan told reporters Monday that he did not know why his name cropped up in the drug matrix presented by the President.
“That is why I welcome any investigation to really know the truth… I don’t know why I was included in the matrix because I don’t have any issue with them,” he said.
The official defended himself by citing his own accomplishments in the campaign against illegal drugs.
Among them was the busting of the Boratong Drug Group which was notoriously known before to be operating a shabu flea market in Pasig City; and the arrest and conviction of alleged “drug queen” Yu Yuk Lai whose daughter was recently absolved by a regional trial court (RTC).
Suan said his stint as deputy regional director for Operations of Central Mindanao had resulted in the surrender of 42,000 suspected drug personalities in the region.
“I initiated a lot of programs that helped the PNP. I also helped in the formulation of tokhang,” said Suan.