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PDEA, police feud over recycled drugs

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Aaron Aquino on Tuesday blamed corrupt policemen for the aborted arrest of a Manila-based drug queen on two occasions.

But Metro Manila Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday slammed Aquino’s statement that the recycling of prohibited drugs involving police operatives was still rampant.   

“There are still reports [of the recycling of illegal drugs]. It’s still rampant, especially among operatives down [the line],” Aquino said during a Senate budget hearing last Monday.

But Eleazar contradicted him.

“First, we appreciate the support that the PDEA has given us in our joint operations against illegal drugs,” Eleazar said. 

“However, with all due respect, I cannot agree completely with director Aquino’s statement in the Senate hearing yesterday that the main reason illegal drugs still proliferate is primarily due to the recycling of drugs by policemen themselves. Unless they can identify to us these policemen with validated reports, the sweeping statement made by the PDEA director is not necessarily true.”

In a dzMM interview, Aquino said the National Bureau of Investigation tapped the Philippine National Police to help in the arrest of the big-time female drug trader in 2018, but the suspect managed to evade arrest.

He said the PDEA agents, along with police officers, also failed to arrest the suspect in another operation.    

“Unfortunately, because of the meddling of ninja cops, the operations of the NBI and ours turned out negative. There really is a snake, and that before we reached the target area, the suspect was no longer there,” Aquino said.

The PNP had the names of the scalawag policemen, he said.

But he said he was not sure if charges had been filed against those police officers.

During last Monday’s Senate budget hearing, Aquino said a drug queen in Manila had been buying seized and recycled illegal drugs from unscrupulous policemen.

He disclosed the possible wrongdoing of some PDEA agents who were also keeping seized illegal drugs just within the PDEA premises.

Eleazar said when he was the head of the Quezon City Police District, he was already aware of the “disease of recycling especially among Drug Enforcement Units in the entire district.” 

“As a remedial measure, I relieved all the personnel of the drug enforcement units from the district down to the police stations, and eventually replaced all with new personnel. My belief was that the old personnel in these units were inadvertently contaminated by the malpractices involving illegal drugs―including recycling, hulidaps, and kidnapping for ransom by rogue cops,” he said.

Eleazar said his strategy was to make sure that new, fresh and clean police officers would wage an honest battle against illegal drugs. 

“All told, I gradually relieved close to 500 policemen from our ranks. Some were reassigned to other regions, while others were charged with administrative and criminal complaints for possible dismissal from the ranks,” he said.

Eleazar said when he started as director of the National Capital Region Police Office in June 1, 2018, he confronted and relieved a number of policemen involved in drug-related cases and charged them with administrative and criminal complaints with the ultimate intent of having them dismissed from the service. 

“In most of these cases, I ordered the wholesale relief of all members of the entire unit and or all the personnel of the police station where the scalawags belonged, because I maintain that where there is a police scalawag, others around him may be contaminated. Also, by virtue of command responsibility, I have relieved police station commanders, chiefs of police, and one district director,” he said.

Topics: Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency , Guillermo Eleazar , Aaron Aquino
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