MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has filed criminal charges against 50 police officers, including two police generals, for their alleged involvement in a 990-kilo shabu haul last year.
The cases stem from the almost P6.7 billion worth of shabu seized from police master sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr. on Oct. 8, 2022 – one of the biggest drug hauls in the country.
Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos said the criminal cases were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman last Friday against the police officers, including 12 commissioned officers.
The highest police officials indicted were Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos, the former deputy chief for operations of the Philippine National Police, and Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, who was head of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) at the time of the raid.
Also charged were Col. Julian Olonan, head of the PDEG Special Operations Unit in Region 4A, and Lieutenant Colonels Arnulfo Ibanez and Glenn Gonzalez.
National Police Commission (Napolcom) Vice Chairman Alberto Bernardo said Santos faces command responsibility over the operation, but did not go into specifics on the alleged participation.
“There is command responsibility in uniformed service. When you arrive in the crime scene, you assumed that kind of responsibility. At that time he was the DCO. If you’re in operations, you are supposed to be mindful of the situation because you are the highest authority. Nothing will happen below if it was not authorized,” he added.
Abalos said the police officers face a slew of cases, including violation of RA 3019 or the anti-graft and corrupt practices act and RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
They also face charges of falsification, perjury, false testimony and malversation of public property, as well as obstruction of justice.
He expressed confidence on the cases filed as this was based on extensive investigation by the DILG, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Napolcom.
“I saw the investigation being done. One by one, they were called to give sworn statements. The probe was based on evidence. So this is a very comprehensive investigation. Not just data from the fact-finding done by Napolcom. Also included were the investigations done by the Special Task Force of the PNP,” Abalos said in Filipino.
Officials investigating the case looked into the involvement of more police officers following surveillance footage that showed alleged cover-up of the shabu haul.
Two officials who were not seen on the surveillance footage were also charged for alleged conspiracy but they were not named during the briefing.
Abalos said that aside from the criminal cases, 48 officials who are in active service are also facing administrative charges before the Napolcom.
“Aside from criminal cases filed last Friday against these police officials, Napolcom is conducting administrative proceedings. Napolcom has finished pre-charge proceedings and expects to issue a resolution in 15 days,” Abalos said in a statement.
Among the administrative cases eyed against the officers include grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, serious irregularity in the conduct of duty, conduct unbecoming of public officers and dishonesty.
Abalos said the officers may face dismissal from duty, suspension of benefits and disqualification from public office.
Bernardo said some of the respondents are still active in service. He assured the respondents that they will undergo due process and that they have opportunities to defend themselves before the ombudsman.
“We are not saying that they are involved but this is part of the due process, even in criminal, administrative cases. They will have their turn to explain themselves,” he added.
Officials noted that they have a theory that the illegal drugs came from another safe house from another city before it was transferred to the establishment in Manila.