The Department of Justice plans to ask a court to issue a precautionary hold departure order to prevent the flight of ranking police officials accused of involvement in illegal drug trade during their preliminary investigation.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the department would take that move once the police and the National Bureau of Investigation have completed their investigations and charges have been filed.
The precautionary hold departure order was created by the Supreme Court earlier this year to replace the watchlist order previously issued by the DOJ to prevent subjects of a criminal investigation from leaving the country.
Guevarra earlier ordered the NBI to conduct a parallel probe into the alleged involvement of police officials in the illegal drug trade, and build up a case against implicated officials from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Customs for supposedly recycling and reselling seized shabu.
“If the evidence warrants, the NBI will file a formal complaint with the DOJ for preliminary investigation,” he added.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte revealed a special report on the alleged involvement of law enforcement officials in illegal drugs trade.
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He said the special report dated Sept. 12 came from an intelligence network.
Among the PNP officials tagged in the report were Senior Supt. Leonardo Suan, Supt. Lorenzo Bacia, Inspector Lito Pirote, Inspector Conrado Caragdag and Senior Police Officer 4 Alejandro Liwanag.
The report also included former Senior Supt. Eduardo Paderon Acierto and former PDEA deputy director general for administration Ismael Gonzales Fajardo Jr. as well as Jimmy Guban, a Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service official who was recently tagged in the P6.8-billion shabu shipment that reportedly slipped past the BOC.
The report tagged Fajardo for allegedly recycling seized drugs. He was reportedly relieved from his post two days after the report was submitted to the Palace.
The report alleged that Fajardo kept portions of seized illegal drugs for personal use or for reselling, instead of fully disclosing and surrendering them for inventory and disposal.
The report said Fajardo and his group would also sometimes use the drugs as planted evidence as proof of accomplishments in the anti-drug war.
Fajardo was taking orders from Acierto, who was dismissed from police service for various anomalies, the report said.
The report said the practice of recycling seized drugs had been accepted by Fajardo’s colleagues from the PNP-Anti-illegal drugs group, which include Acierto, Suan, Bacia, Pirote, Caragdag, and Liwanag.
The report said the group considered Acierto their mentor and took orders from him when it come to anti-narcotics operations.
Like Fajardo, Acierto fabricated stories and planted evidence, particularly drugs, which were recycled from previous operations, the report said.
Acierto was also involved in the alleged anomalous procurement of more than 1,000 AK-47 rifles, which reportedly ended up in the hands of the New People’s Army.
Lastly, the report alleged that Guban collected monthly “tara” or grease money from the Chinese owners of drug warehouses he would raid.