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Authorities tag 6 PNP–Drug Enforcement Group officials behind drug empire

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At least six officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), including two who have been dismissed, have been linked to “enormous” illegal drugs network in the country.

According to a very reliable source, the police officials had reportedly served in different anti-drug groups of the PNP under previous administrations but the same personalities were “appointed and recruited” in the restructured PNP-Drug Enforcement Group tasked to carry out President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“People being appointed and recruited into these organizations were the same personalities; creating pool of agents and personnel who are mostly corrupt and have already created networks with different drug lords across the country and abroad,” the Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) source said.

Among the two dismissed officials, described as one of the PNP’s anti-narcotics stalwarts, one was involved in the anomalous procurement of 1,004 AK-47 from 2011-2013 which eventually went to the New People’s Army.

The official, who previously took the helm at the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF), was removed from government service due to various anomalies. He is regarded as among the senior officers of the PNP who spent most of his career in anti-narcotics operations.

“However, he also has the reputation of amassing wealth by recycling the drugs that have been confiscated and even earning substantial amount of money through extortion from apprehended suspects especially Chinese nationals,” the source said.

The source said the dismissed official’s group was also known for fabricating stories and planting pieces of evidence particularly drugs which were recycled from various operations.

The illegal network also involved a Bureau of Customs (BOC) official and five other police officials, including the dismissed official’s protégé, known in the community as a “scorer” or one who delivers accomplishments.

The protégé and his group reportedly conducted a drug operation in Valenzuela on Jan. 12, 2016 where they declared only 36 out of the more than 55 packs of confiscated “shabu”.

Two days later, the group conducted a “scripted” buy-bust operation in Binondo, Manila, using 15.05 kilograms of shabu confiscated in the Valenzuela’s operation upon the instructions of alleged Chinese drug lord Atong Lee.

The source said the group was rewarded by the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for this “scripted operation”.

The group was also involved in two other “scripted” anti-illegal drug operations, the so-called Celadon Residence case and the Paranaque case involving alleged Taiwanese drug runner Tseng Shien Ming.

Based on the government’s initial background checks, the protégé has reportedly accumulated wealth which was “disproportionate” to his salary as government employee.

It was recommended that the official must undergo “a thorough lifestyle check” to determine real source of his wealth, such as the P7.8 million declared in his SALN and undeclared houses and lots worth P100 million.

“Enormous network of powerful people and sophisticated modus are utilized to protect and continuously carry out unscrupulous activities under the guise of legitimate law enforcement operations,” the source said.

Most of the officials, the source added, were officials under the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) established in 2003.

The BOC official, on the other hand, is described as an “influential force” in the bureau. He was linked in the long list of anomalous activities and operations in the BOC and is also close to Taiwan and China’s notorious syndicate members.

The custom official’s source of wealth is also supposedly dubious.

The source said narcotics industry has reached an unimaginable sphere of influence all over the country.

“The processes of restructuring organizational landscape within the PNP anti-drugs unit has noble objectives, however, it was shrouded with the reality that it was merely aesthetics and technicalities on changing names and mandates of these differently-called organizations,” the source said.

From 1983 to 2017, there were four organization re-structuring made within the PNP anti-drugs unit: Narcotics Command (NARCOM) was created in 1983; Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) was established in 2003 following the enactment of Republic Act 9165 that created the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA); Philippine National Police-Anti Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG) was eventually formed as a permanent PNP anti-narcotics unit in 2015; and in 2017, the Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) was activated after the PNP-AIDG was dissolved when some of its members got involved in the killing of Korean national Jee Ick Joo inside the national police headquarters. (PNA)