DOJ summons ‘ninja cops’ in reinvestigation

Lian Buan
DOJ summons ‘ninja cops’ in reinvestigation
The 13 policemen are directed to appear at the Department of Justice on Wednesday, October 16

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) sent subpoenas to 13 policemen formerly of Pampanga as prosecutors reopened a previously dismissed case over alleged drug recycling in a raid in 2013.

The DOJ sent the subpoenas on Thursday, October 10, to the following:

  1. Police Major Rodney Baloyo IV
  2. Police Senior Inspector Joven Bognot Jr
  3. Senior Police Officer I (SPO1) Jules Maniago
  4. SPO1 Donald Roque
  5. SPO1 Ronald Santos
  6. SPO1 Rommel Vital
  7. SPO1 Alcindor Tinio
  8. SPO1 Eligio Valeroso
  9. Police Officer III (PO3) Dindo Dizon
  10. PO3 Gilbert de Vera
  11. PO3 Encarnacion Guerrero Jr
  12. PO2 Anthony Lacsamana
  13. PO3 Dante Dizon

“You are hereby directed to appear for the reinvestigation…and to submit any additional evidence before us on October 16, 2019, at 10 in the morning at the DOJ,” said the summons signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Josie Christina Dugay and Assistant State Prosecutor Gino Paolo Santiago.

The other member of the newly constituted prosecution panel, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez, is on business leave.

Baloyo is still detained at the New Bilibid Prison after the Senate cited him in contempt. During the Senate’s last hearing on Wednesday, October 9, Baloyo’s new plum assignment in Tagaytay City was questioned.

“This strengthens our suspicion that this group has been given preferential treatment. All the circumstances point to that,” said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

The case

The cops are accused of turning over only 36.68 kilograms (kg) of shabu seized in the drug raid, when they supposedly confiscated 200 kg.

In March 2014, complaints of violations of Sections 27 (misappropriation), 29 (planting), and 32 (custody and disposition) of the Dangerous Drugs Act were filed against the 13 cops, but these were all dismissed by the DOJ in 2017.

Following DOJ rules, the complaints went to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for automatic review.

Instead of just the regular review, Guevarra blew the case wide open, and assembled a new prosecution panel to receive new evidence.

At the Senate, embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde was accused by a retired general of supposedly saying he “only got a little” from the 2013 operations.

Albayalde has already admitted to calling former Central Luzon police chief Aaron Aquino, but their versions of the call differed. Aquino said Albayalde asked him not to implement the dismissal orders against the cops, while Albayalde said he merely asked about the status of the dismissal orders.

Years later, the dismissal orders were downgraded to a one-rank demotion. These administrative penalties are also being reinvestigated by the PNP Internal Affairs Service and the National Police Commission. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.