By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has assigned seven prosecutors who will prosecute Police Major Rodney Baloyo IV and the 11 other so-called “ninja cops” before the San Fernando City courts for their involvement in the anomalous 2013 anti-illegal drugs operation in Mexico, Pampanga.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra picked the prosecutors under Department Order (DO) No. 069 dated Feb. 17.
In the order, the prosecutors picked for the job are Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva; Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera and Alexander Suarez; Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay, Gino Paolo Santiago, and Ethel Rea Suril; and Associate Prosecution Attorney Alyssa Ana Zapata.
Baloyo and his co-accused are facing before the San Fernando RTC Branch 44 charges of violating Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, particularly, Section 27, Article II for misappropriation, misapplication, or failure to account for the confiscated, seized, and/or surrendered dangerous drugs; Section 29, Article II, planting of evidence; and Section 92, Artiel XI, delay and bungling in the prosecution of drugs cases; and qualified bribery under the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
His co-accused are P/Insp. Joven Bagnot De Guzman, Jr.; SPO1 (Senior Police Officer) Jules Lacap Maniago; SPOI Donald Castro Roque; SPO1 Ronald Bayas Santos; SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital; SPO1 Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio; PO3 (Police Officer) Dindo Singian Dizon; PO3 Gilbert Angeles De Vera; PO3 Romeo Encarnacio Guerrero, Jr.; SPO1 Eligio Dayos Valeroso; and SPO1 Dante Mercado Dizon.
Baloyo was also charged before the RTC with falsification, while, Guerrero and Santos were also charged for violating regulations issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Also facing charges before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) are De Guzman, Guerrero, and Santos for false testimony and perjury charges against Santos and Guerrero.
The case concerns the 2013 illegal drugs operations in Mexico, Pampanga where a team led by Baloyo was supposed to have arrested suspected foreign drug trader Johnson Lee.
The charges against the 12 “ninja cops” were filed before the RTC and MTCC after the panel of prosecutors chaired by Suarez found probable cause to indict them following a preliminary investigation of the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
“The panel found that Baloyo, et al, misappropriated drugs when they declared that only 36.60 kg of shabu was seized during their operations, while the subsequent police investigation indicated that about two hundred kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride was actually recovered. The group likewise declared that the cash they obtained from the operation to be only P300,000 while contrary evidence indicated that the amount reached P10 million,” the DOJ said.
“Some of the respondents were likewise found to have failed to declare and account for a Toyota Fortuner vehicle which was also seized during the operation,” it added.
The DOJ also pointed out that the panel said the respondents were also found to have “illegally arrested one Ding Wenkun instead of Johnson Lee from whom they seized the drugs” and “implicated or imputed upon Wenkun the crime of illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs despite their knowledge that it was Lee who should be charged therefor.”