SEN. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said a classmate of former Pampanga police intelligence chief Maj. Rodney Raymund Baloyo at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) was also involved in the supposed “agaw-bato” scheme.
In his interview with radio station dzBB, Lacson did not name who the graduate of Batch 1999 was, but he made the connection following the relief of Baloyo’s classmate, Maj. Bienvenido Reydado, as intelligence chief for Cagayan last Friday.
“Ang background ni Maj. Baloyo, Class 1999 ng PNPA; magkaklase sila ni Reydado. Ang sinasabing diagram sa ‘agaw-bato,’ naroon ang mga links. So ‘yan, hindi pa masyadong naimbestigahan dahil meron pang nasa labas na naroon sa diagram (Maj. Baloyo’s background is Class 1999 of PNPA; he and Reydado were classmates. In the alleged agaw-bato diagram, the links were there. So there, it has not been investigated enough because there are still people outside the diagram),” Lacson said.
“Sa information namin, meron pa ring iba. At least isa na nakita kong member ng Class 1999 ng PNPA na naroon din sa… hindi nga agaw-bato ang code nila riyan. Ang tawag nila riyan, agaw-prutas (In the information we saw, there are still others. I saw at least one member of Class 1999 of PNPA there… they don’t even use the code agaw-bato. They call it agaw-prutas),” Lacson added.
Lacson said the agaw-bato (meth-snatching) or “agaw-prutas” (fruit-snatching) scheme goes further beyond the questioned operation involving Baloyo and 12 other policemen who were subordinates of PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde when he was provincial director of Pampanga.
Lacson said “ninja cops” in his list were mostly from the Central Luzon region, which Pampanga province is a part of.
“Karamihan dito, Region 3 talaga naka-assign. At ang link papasok sa [New] Bilibid Prisons (Most of them are really assigned in Region 3. And the link will go to the New Bilibid Prisons),” Lacson said.
Reydado was relieved last Friday as intelligence chief of the Cagayan regional police following allegations he is a “ninja cop.” He appeared at a Senate hearing on the ninja cops issue Thursday last week.
Reydado was appointed intelligence chief of Cagayan only on July 18.
He is formerly the Pampanga provincial director of the CIDG but was transferred to the Provincial 1st Maneuver Platoon of the Cagayan Provincial Mobile Force Company after he was implicated in a now-dismissed case involving the “recycling” of drugs seized from a Chinese drug lord in 2014.
Reydado and six civilian agents were arrested in March 2014 for alleged trafficking of illegal drugs seized during police operations. This is a separate case from the Nov. 29, 2013 operation in Mexico, Pampanga led by Baloyo.
The Senate on Thursday cited Baloyo in contempt for his “evasive” answers during the justice and blue ribbon committees’ joint hearing. He was ordered detained in the NBP in Muntinlupa City.
OOPS, NOT GENERALS
President Duterte yesterday clarified he was not referring to any police general when he talked of two police officials allegedly involved in illegal drug trading operations in the country.
The President, in a press conference at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao upon his arrival from Russia, said he was “ignorant” and “confused” about the ranks of the police officers and had referred to them as “generals.”
Duterte said he was actually referring to two “colonels.”
“Wala, walang generals. I’m sure of that. Sa aking report na dumating sa akin, wala.
Parang colonel, I think (None, there are no generals. I’m sure of that. In the report that I received, none. It’s like a colonel, I think),” he said.
In an event in Russia on Thursday (Friday in Manila), the President said there were two generals who were “still playing with drugs,” but did not name them.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the PNP is ready to face any probe body on the alleged involvement of two police generals in illegal drugs.
Banac said the PNP has not received reports about or has knowledge of any general involved in illegal drugs other than what was being alleged of Albayalde.
Albayalde said he is not one of the two generals being referred to by Duterte.
Albayalde said the President might still be referring to an old list which was submitted to him way back during the time of former police chief and now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.
“Meron lumang listahan na puwedeng naging basehan ng ating Presidente (There is an old list which may be the basis of the President),” Albayalde said.
Duterte said he has asked the Department of Interior and Local Government to verify reports on the links of rogue cops with illegal drug syndicates.
“Iyung PNP is under Secretary Año of the DILG. He has to conduct the investigation, give the proper importance of the work of Congress in the matter of the investigation of the so-called ninja cops, then he must report to me now on what to do and his recommendation.
And if I approve it, that’s it,” he added.
The President, in a meeting with the Filipino community in Moscow in Russia, said he intends to start dealing with the ninja cops upon his return to the Philippines.
“Meron akong ninja. Ngayon pag-uwi ko talagang upakan ko itong mga p**** i**** pulis na ito. Ay, … Iyang tawag nilang ninja. Iyung talagang nagdo-droga ang mga g*** (I have ninjas. When I return home, I will beat these sons of b**** policemen. Those they call ninja. Those fools who are involved in illegal drugs),” he said.
The President said the errant cops had already been identified and the congressional inquiry on the ninja cops had already been concluded by the Senate.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOJ will reopen its investigation into the 2013 Pampanga drug bust operation, where the operating police officers reportedly kept 160 kilos of shabu and P50 million in exchange for the freedom of suspected drug lord Johnson Lee.
“In the light of new evidence unfolding, and in the interest of justice, the DOJ will reopen the case of Baloyo et al. I will create a new panel of state prosecutors to conduct the reinvestigation,” Guevarra said, adding he will name the members of the panel on Monday.
He said both sides will be given “ample opportunity to present additional evidence” during the reinvestigation.
The panel, the DOJ chief said, “shall try to resolve the case in a month’s time considering that the automatic review of the case has been pending since 2017.”
The 13 policemen are charged for violation of sections 27 (misappropriation), 21 (planting of evidence) and 32 (custody and disposition of evidence) of the Dangerous Drugs Act which were earlier dismissed but is still subject of an automatic review of the secretary of justice. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and Ashzel Hachero