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Police in Duterte drug matrix all former anti-drug cops

Rambo Talabong
Police in Duterte drug matrix all former anti-drug cops
The very cops who worked in a team to battle illegal drugs are now at the top of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug list

MANILA, Philippines – All the cops named in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug matrix served as anti-illegal drugs cops in the Philippine National Police (PNP), top cop Director General Oscar Albayalde confirmed on Monday, October 29.

“Before, they all belonged to one unit, at the AIDSOTF (Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force), then the AIDG (Anti-Illegal Drugs Group),” Albayalde told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

Including dismissed cop Eduardo Acierto, Albayalde was referring to the cops sacked after being named by Duterte as linked to the illegal drug trade, namely:

  • Senior Superintendent Leonardo Ramos Suan
  • Superintendent Lorenzo Cusay Bacia
  • Senior Inspector Lito Torres Pirote
  • Inspector Conrado Hernandez Caragdag
  • Senior Police Officer IV Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag

The AIDSOTF was the PNP’s first separate unit created to go after drug suspects. It lasted from 2003 up to 2015 when it transitioned to be the AIDG.

The PNP now has the PDEG, which was created after AIDG was abolished in January 2017. It was disbanded following the sensational killing of South Korean Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame, where AIDG cops were the main suspects.

When the AIDG was dissolved, the 5 cops were reassigned to the regions, while Acierto remained in Camp Crame inside the Civil Security Group.

Albayalde said the PNP found no incriminating information against the embattled cops during their stint with AIDSOTF and AIDG. (READ: Policing the PNP: Scalawags spoil Duterte vow to end crime)

It was only recently, with the help of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, that the PNP was able to look deeper into their colleagues’ backgrounds. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.