Drug Matrix Involving Law Enforcement Officers Revealed

President Rodrigo Duterte has released an intelligence report on law enforcement officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

They include dismissed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency deputy Director General Ismael Fajardo, dismissed superintendents Eduardo Acierto and Leonardo Suan, Superintendent Lorenzo Bacia, inspectors Lito Pirote and Conrado Caragdag and SPO4 Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag.

Duterte decided to make the document public at a press conference in which he was asked about Davao City-based businessman Michael Yang, whom he cleared of drug links last week.

“The narcotics industry has reached an unimaginable sphere of influence all over the country,” the report said.

“Enormous networks of powerful people people and sophisticated modus are utilized to protect and continuously carry out unscrupulous activities under the guise of legitimate law enforcement operations,” it added.

The document discussed the activities of Fajardo, who was relieved of his post on September 14 over his links to the alleged smuggling of P6.8-billion worth of shabu in August.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino told a House committee on September 27 that Fajardo and resigned Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service officer Jimmy Guban knew that the hundreds of kilograms of shabu would be shipped to the country.

“Director Fajardo is known in the [law enforcement] community as a ‘scorer’ or one who delivers accomplishments. However, he is branded as a ‘recycler’ of drugs and fabricator of stories,” the report said.

“Instead of fully disclosing and surrendering the recovered drugs for purposes of inventory and disposal, he keeps some portions of it for personal use and/or for reselling. At times, Fajardo and his group use those drugs to plant evidence or make a ‘scenario’ for accomplishment.”

Fajardo also “cripples suspects by bleeding them of resources” in order to stop them from using their money in hiring a lawyer, bribe the judiciary and influence important personalities “which may all help reveal their modus,” according to the document.

The report added Fajardo is involved in several incidents of drug recycling and other illegal activities involving drugs since his early days as anti-narcotics operative in the Philippine National Police.

For instance, Fajardo and his group allegedly made up stories to justify the arrest of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino and his Chinese companion during a raid in Manila on January 21, 2016.

Marcelino, a former PDEA official, and Chinese interpreter Yan Yi Shou had asserted that they were only fulfilling their lawful duties at the time of their arrest, when anti-narcotics agents seized nearly 77 kilograms of shabu at a townhouse in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

Marcelino and Yan were cleared of the charges for possession of dangerous drugs last year.

The report also said the National Bureau of Investigation apprehended Fajardo and his girlfriend sometime in December 2016 for drug peddling, but the NBI did not press charges “out of courtesy to a fellow enforcer after PDEA leadership intervened on his behalf.

Acierto, meanwhile, has allegedly maintained connections with “various narcotics financiers and manufacturers inside and outside the country” including Chinese nationals who are currently in jail, according to the report.

“He is the mentor and considered to be the one whom Fajardo takes order from when it comes to anti-narcotics operations,” it said.

Acierto was recently dismissed from the service due to his involvement in the anomalous purchase of 1,004 AK-47 rifles which later on were found in the possession of the New People’s Army.

He was also the officer-in-charge of the defunct PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group when its operative killed South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame, Quezon City in October 2016. Acierto was not charged for command responsibility after the PNP-AIDG was dissolved by Duterte following Jee’s death.

The report did not contain details of the specific participation Paderon, Suan, Bacia, Pirote, Caragdag and Liwanag in the drug trade.

The report also discussed the anomalies linked to Guban such as collecting monthly “tara” or “grease money” from owners of warehouses he was raiding as well as their managers and helping the entry of various contraband items such as illegal drugs and ukay-ukay.

“Accordingly, his modus was to arrange with the owners the raid of their warehouses. The arrangement is for the owners to remove 75 percent of their goods and leave 25 percent to be caught by the BOC [Bureau of Customs] officials and shown off for media mileage,” it said.

The report recommended the conduct of investigation for various offenses and lifestyle check on Fajardo and Guban due to suspected unexplained wealth.

Early in his term, Duterte had released the names of former and current local government officials, policemen and law enforcement officials with ties to illegal drugs. He also named five police generals as protectors of drug syndicates.