Cop in Duterte matrix denies drug links

Rambo Talabong
Cop in Duterte matrix denies drug links
Senior Superintendent Leonardo Suan says he was never in any operation with former cops and now drug suspects Ismael Fajardo and Eduardo Acierto

MANILA, Philippines – A police colonel included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug matrix on Tuesday, October 30, denied under oath that he had drug ties and claimed  he was “maliciously included” in the list.

Senior Superintendent Leonardo Suan professed his innocence at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing into the missing P11-billion shabu on Tuesday, and said he had never been part of any operation with alleged corrupt former cops who were named in Duterte’s drug matrix.

Maliciously included po ako dito kasi ‘di po kami nagsama ni Fajardo o ni Acierto in a single operation (I was maliciously included here, because I was not in a single operation with Fajardo or Acierto),” said Suan.

He was referring to dismissed police colonel Eduardo Acierto and sacked Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy chief Ismael Fajardo, who used to serve in the Philippine National Police.

According to the President’s report, Suan allegedly learned how to recycle shabu from Acierto and Fajardo. All 3 of them used to serve in the now-defunct PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF). (READ: Police in Duterte drug matrix all former anti-drug cops)

A floating cop since Duterte’s matrix was published, Suan said that while he was in AIDSOTF at the same time as Fajardo and Acierto, he was never in the same team as them.

Hindi kami nagsama kasi ibang grupo sila, SOU (Special Operations Unit) 3…SOU 2 [ako] (We never got together because they were in a different group, in the SOU 3…I was SOU 2),” said Suan.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday that the President’s drug matrix was prepared by the PDEA and the AIDSOTF’s replacement, the PNP Drug Enforcement Group. –

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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.