One year after Duterte exposé, PDEA still probing 'narco generals'
MANILA, Philippines – More than a year after President Rodrigo Duterte accused 5 former and then-sitting senior police officials of involvement in the illegal drug trade, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is still investigating the allegations.
Representatives from PDEA – the agency mandated by law to lead all anti-drug operations and efforts – made the statement during the House floor deliberations on the agency's proposed 2018 budget on Thursday, September 7.
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano asked PDEA officials for updates on the case buildup for Marcelo Garbo Jr, Police Director Joel Pagdilao, Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, Bernardo Diaz, and Vic Loot, who had all denied the allegations.
Duterte made the allegations against the police generals at the 69th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force in Clark Freeport on July 5, 2016, saying, "I am compelled by my sense of duty to tell you the police who contributed to deterioration of law and order in this country."
PDEA declined to give updates on the investigation.
"Because of the investigation and because of the sensitivity of the case, the agency cannot publicly divulge what they have done, what they are doing," said Masbate 3rd District Representative Scott Davies Lanete, who sponsored the PDEA budget.
The PDEA representatives said they would tell the public details of the investigation "at the right time."
The Department of the Interior and Local Government, which has jurisdiction over Pagdilao and Tinio through the National Police Commission (Napolcom), said in August last year that they were ready to make public the case against the two police officers.
Garbo, Diaz, and Loot's cases were under the justice department since they had already retired at the time Duterte made the allegations.
The 5 generals were the first high-ranking officials whom Duterte publicly accused of having drug links. Nearly a month later, in August 2016, Duterte read out loud an error-laden list of policemen, judges, and politicians who allegedly had ties to illegal drugs.
Duterte has brandished a second list that is thicker, but he has not made it public. Some politicians in the infamous list have since died at the hands of police, supposedly because they "fought back" during operations.
The death of one politician, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, was deemed a "rubout" by the National Bureau of Investigation. The charges against the police who led the operation, however, were downgraded from murder to homicide. They were later reassigned and put back on duty on the orders of Duterte, fueling criticism. – Rappler.com