Dismissed PDEA Metro Manila chief surrenders to Eastern Visayas police

Jairo Bolledo

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Dismissed PDEA Metro Manila chief surrenders to Eastern Visayas police

ARREST. Dismissed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Metro Manila Chief Erwin Ogario surrenders at the Philippine National Police Region 8 office in Tacloban on January 25, three years after the issuance of a warrant of arrest for him on drug charges.

Photo grab PRTV Tacloban

(2nd UPDATE) Erwin Ogario is facing drug charges filed during the Duterte administration

MANILA, Philippines – Dismissed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Metro Manila chief Erwin Ogario surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Eastren Visayas office in Palo, Leyte, on Wednesday, January 25 – three years after a court issued a warrant for his arrest over drug-related charges.

Then-president Rodrigo Duterte had named Ogario as among the government officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. A warrant for his arrest was issued on January 3, 2019, for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002.

The PNP Eastern Visayas did not allow Ogario to speak to media after reading him his rights.

Ogario had personally informed Rappler of his plans to surrender to Eastern Visayas police.

The former PDEA official told Rappler he surrendered because he wanted to face the criminal complaint against him, and for his safety as well. He also disclosed other details related to his surrender, but Rappler withheld those information for Ogario’s safety.

Ang finile pa sa akin, non-bailable offense kaya susuko ako doon sa PNP (Philippine National Police). Doon ako sa Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), kasi taga-Region 8 ako (A non-bailable offense was filed against me that’s why I am surrendering to the PNP. I will surrender in Region 8 because I am from that region),” Ogario told Rappler.

Ogario surrendered minutes after Lieutenant General Michael John Dubai, chief of the PNP Directorial Staff, attended the tribute to the SAF-44 cops in Camp Ruperto K. Kangleon in Palo, Leyte.  

Ogario told Rappler that he didn’t know he had a warrant of arrest, but he expected it somehow. He also added that his case was bailable, contrary to his earlier expectation. 

In a copy of the bail order for Ogario retrieved by Rappler, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 227 set the bail to P200,000. 

In 2017, Ogario was slapped with drug importation complaints. He was dismissed the same year, for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

In the drug case against Ogario, PDEA alleged that he “protected and coddled” alleged drug offender Eddon Dimagio Dalisay, who was nabbed by authorities after he claimed a parcel that contained illegal drugs in 2015, but later released by PDEA NCR, under Ogario.

Prior to his dismissal, Ogario served as regional director for PDEA Caraga and Metro Manila, and also headed PDEA’s Administrative Holding Office-Administrative and Human Resource Service.

In an interview with Rappler, Ogario claimed that he became subjected to “intimidation” when Isidro Lapeña was appointed as PDEA chief in July 2016. Ogario said he was reassigned when Lapeña took over.

“While there are underlying causes to what I have experienced, it started with Agency Orders No. 2016-290 dated 28 July 2016. The reassignment was done whimsically and indiscriminately to harass and oppress. It was demeaning, unreasonable and humiliating,” Ogario said. 

Six months later, Ogario said he asked for a designation through a memorandum dated February 6, 2017. Four days later, he filed another memorandum inquiring again about his assignment. But in return, Ogario said he received show cause orders (SCO). 

Ang naririnig ko doon, iniisip nila na magpa-file ako ng complaint for abuse of discretion doon sa director general that time na si Lapeña kaya naghanap sila ng kung ano’ng ititira sa akin (From what I’ve heard, they thought I will file a complaint for abuse of discretion against the director general then, Lapeña, that’s why they looked for possible complaints against me),” Ogario told Rappler. 

Ogario said he initially received two SCOs dated March 3 and 29, 2017. Then, in the course of his term, he received at least five SCOs. – With reports from Jazmin Bonifacio/Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.