A WITNESS of the Department of Justice has alleged that Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña received millions of pesos in payola from slain drug lord Jeffrey Diaz alias Jaguar.
In his affidavit executed in November 2016 but was made public by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday, Reynaldo Diaz said the mayor received at least P7 million from the drug lord.
Diaz, now under the witness protection program of the DoJ, is a self-confessed bagman and cousin of Jaguar, who was killed in a police operation in Las Piñas City in June 2016.
“Mayor Tomas Osmeña received payola from Jaguar the amount of P2 million for hospitalization expenses in 2013 and P5 million during the 2016 elections,” Aguirre said, quoting from the witness’ affidavit.
“The others listed in the payola are General Vicente Loot and four other police officers,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre said he authorized the release of the statement of the witness upon request of the Task Force Commander Against Illegal Drugs of the National Bureau of Investigation.
Aguirre called on “individuals possessing additional knowledge or information to come forward and corroborate the [statement].”
Once the case buildup concludes, the NBI would file charges against Osmeña, he said.
Aguirre said Osmeña and other implicated police officials may be indicted for providing protection to drug lords.
Aguirre made the revelation about the investigation and case buildup against the Cebu mayor after Osmeña threatened to file graft and disbarment cases against him over his alleged interference in the tax evasion charges filed by the local government.
Aguirre dared Osmeña to just file the graft and disbarment cases against him, saying there was nothing anomalous in his order to transfer the cases—against BDO and SM—from the Cebu City prosecutor’s office to the Justice Department in Manila.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies echoed Malacañang’s allegations that drug lords may be using some human rights groups to destabilize the government’s war on illegal drugs.
The Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said human rights groups may be unwittingly used by drug lords to criticize the government’s unrelenting drive against illegal drugs.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, PNP P/Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, PDEA spokesperson director Derrick Arnold Carreon, and NCRPO spokesperson Kimberly Molitas said they are looking into the possibility that drug lords may be behind in the systematic attack on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, which resulted in the arrest of 123,648 drug suspects since the start of the anti-drug operations.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stood firm on his statement that drug lords are funding human rights groups to destabilize the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs.
“We stand by the statement we made on the possibility that some non-governmental organizations, instead of assisting the government fulfill its human rights obligations, have become unwitting tools of drug lords,” Roque said in a statement.
However, PDEA spokesman Carreon said that the alleged drug money being used to attack the President is still a subject of further investigation by all law enforcement agencies.
“You can see the attacks against the anti-drug campaign, while law enforcement agencies like PDEA and the PNP are making honest efforts on the ground,” he said.
The PNP and PDEA also said that they are willing to give reports to the International Criminal Court investigators if they ask for details of the police operations against illegal drugs—but only with the approval from the Palace or the Department of Interior and Local Government.
On Tuesday, PDEA announced that it has given a total of P7,525,235.19 in cash rewards to six informants who had helped in the arrest of drug suspects under its Operation: Private Eye.
Director-General Aaron Aquino commended the informants identified through their codenames as Krugger, Jacpat, Mata, Keeper, BI-1 and Highway Man.
Operation ‘Private Eye’ is a citizen-based information collection program designed to encourage the active participation of private citizens to report illegal drug activities in their communities.
The rewards committee composed of members from the academe, non-government organizations, law enforcement, religious and business sectors approved a resolution granting the P7,525,235.19 monetary rewards to the six informants after careful deliberation.
Krugger received the biggest reward of P2 million for the confiscation of 162.55 kilos of shabu and arrest of two drug traders on Dec. 23, 2016, while Jacpat was rewarded with P1,878,527 for the information that led to the confiscation of 76,695.70 grams of shabu and arrest of two drug suspects on Jan. 21, 2016.
Mata was able to get P1,565,684.96 for the seizure of 29,883.88 grams of shabu and arrest of four drug suspects on June 23, 2016.
Keeper received P1,403,986.98 by providing information that led to the confiscation of 28,564.07 grams of shabu and apprehension of a drug suspect on May 20, 2016.
A cash reward of P502,779.19 was given to BI-1 for the seizure of 19 pieces of ecstasy tablets and 17.9943 grams of marijuana, dismantling of a small scale clandestine shabu laboratory and arrest of six drug suspects on Nov. 1, 2017.
DEA rewarded Highway Man P174,256.40 for providing authorities information that resulted in the seizujre of 74,945.1 grams of marijuana leaves and 12,183.1 grams of marijuana stalks, and arrest of 13 drug personalities on April 12, 2017. With Rio N. Araja