By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) assured the public Thursday night that it will not tolerate its own men if proven they have violated laws and protocols after an Agusan del Norte town vice mayor expressed plans to sue the cops who allegedly planted evidence during a raid at his house last month.
Jabonga, Agusan del Norte Vice Mayor Glicero Monton said he will file charges against a raiding team from the provincial police after they allegedly planted P700,000 worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and a grenade during a raid in Barangay Poblacion last November 28.
“The truthfulness of any allegation relative to that anti-drug operation will now be established in the proper court proceedings,” said Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesperson.
Police conducted a raid on Monton’s house after receiving information about his supposed illegal drug activities. The town vice mayor was listed as a “high-value target” in the local police drugs watch list.
A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage inside Monton’s house showed that around 2:30 a.m, the first raiding team knocked down the door of the house and told the security guard to lie on the floor.
About eight cops then proceeded to the bathroom area on the first floor of the house while the others gathered the occupants.
About two hours later, a second raiding team arrived and conducted a search of the house. In the bathroom area, the drugs and grenade were found by police while Monton was arrested after the search.
Chief Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, regional director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-13, said police operations usually involve more than two raiding teams: the first team is assigned to secure the area, and the second is to conduct the search, so there is nothing suspicious about the operation.
However, Jirech Cuasito, Monton’s lawyer, said the raid was highly irregular since the first raiding team, which was supposed to secure the area, forcibly entered the premises of the house.
He added that the first raiding team contaminated the bathroom area after some of the cops went there prior to the search. Later, the evidence were found in the bathroom area.
Cuasito also said the first raiding team had no search warrant when they entered the house — claims belied by PRO-13’s Cruz.
Durana, for his part, said both parties should just allow the investigation on the matter to take its due course.
“However, allow us to once again assure the public that the PNP will never condone any wrongdoing by any of our personnel,” he said.
The axe will fall where it should if after a thorough investigation, it has been proven that an infraction or violation of the law has been committed,” he concluded.