PNP Cordillera disbands anti-drug team after members suspected of murder

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Cordillera regional police disbanded its Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU) after two of its members were implicated in the abduction and beheading of a Baguio City resident – a case that is seen to erode the police's credibility once more amid an unrelenting anti-drug campaign.

This was confirmed to Rappler by Cordillera police chief Brigadier General Rwin Pagkalinawan in a text message on Friday, December 18, saying that the two suspects in the killing were placed under restrictive custody inside their regional camp in La Trinidad, Benguet.

The anti-drug unit had 24 members, Pagkalinawan said. It is unclear if the police will probe its other members.

What killing?

The policemen are suspected of killing 25-year-old Harjan Lagman, who was abducted in Baguio City on November 11.

His remains were recovered on November 12 along Labey-Lacamen Road in Tublay town, Benguet.

"Sadly, they are police officers assigned in the regional office…in the drug enforcement unit," Baguio City police chief Colonel Allen Rae Co said in a press conference on Wednesday, December 16.

Anti-drug policemen were last implicated in the gruesome murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo in October 2016, which later led to the temporary suspension of the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign. – Rappler.com

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.

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