Philippine National Police

PNP chief denies cover-up of P6.7-B shabu mess

James Patrick Cruz

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PNP chief denies cover-up of P6.7-B shabu mess

. Then-PNP chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. holds a press conference on April 17, 2023 in Camp Crame. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Jire Carreon/Rappler

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos should 'take a second look at the people who may be feeding him wrong information,' says outgoing police chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. denied any attempt to cover up the P6.7-billion worth of shabu seized in Tondo in 2022, as he warned his boss against people “feeding him wrong information.”

“Contrary to what many of our critics say, let me also categorically say that there was no attempt to cover up or exculpate Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo from his involvement in the illegal drug operations,” Azurin said in a press conference on Monday, April 17.

Mayo was an intelligence officer of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group. He was arrested and dismissed from service following the anti-drugs operation in Tondo, Manila, in October 2022.

Azurin issued his denial a week after at least two police generals and eight other officers were suspended for their possible involvement in the shabu mess cover-up. Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said implicated policemen must go on leave or be suspended pending an investigation.

Azurin, however, found the accusation against the cops “very unfair,” as he questioned the lack of evidence to support the allegations. He called for due process for the implicated generals, and urged the public to “try to respect and and give them dignity because they earned that.”

The PNP chief also warned Abalos, who supervises the PNP, about the wrong information that could have been relayed to him. 

“Let me also call the kind attention of our SILG, the Honorable Benjamin Abalos Jr., to take a second look at the people who may be feeding him wrong information to cast doubt on the PNP organization, which is also under his authority,” Azurin said.

The PNP chief, who is set to retire next week, told Abalos that they should focus on the real enemy, “which is the shabu and the drug syndicates.”

The war on drugs was a cornerstone campaign of former president Rodrigo Duterte, which the Marcos administration is pursuing with a new approach.

In January, over 500 PNP officers submitted courtesy resignations upon the instructions of Abalos, who wants to purge the PNP of officers involved in the drug trade. –

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James Patrick Cruz

Patrick Cruz is a researcher and writer for Rappler’s governance cluster. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, he covered local governments focusing on Metro Manila.