Days of cops in PRRD narco-list numbered

I’M saying this in the wake of the brazen  killing in Makati City on Monday morning of a police major who is included in President Duterte’s ‘narco-list.’ My sources told me that the victim was actually the 5th member of the Philippine National Police included in the infamous list to be assassinated by motorcycle-riding gunmen since 2016.

The killers of Major Jeffrey Dalson who has been described as a ‘drug protector in Quezon City’ made sure he was  dead by pumping seven shots on him while he was inside his Ford Everest with plate no. NAM 5758 parked in front of an auto shop in Barangay East Rembo around 7:05 a.m. Monday.

Just like in the case of the other victims of so-called ‘Riding-in-Tandem Criminals,’ the policeman was shot by the back rider of a motorcycle being driven by a cohort. After the shooting, the gunman immediately fled on foot and presumably used the same motorbike to escape.

As of yesterday, the Makati City Police Station headed by my friend, Colonel Roger Simon are still investigating the motive and identities of the killers. The thing here is that the killers were wearing crash helmets to conceal their identities and obviously were using a motorcycle with a fake license plate.  Unless there are witnesses who saw their faces and the place where they stayed after the ‘hit job,’ it would be really next to impossible to solve the case.

My sources have told me that Major Dalson on Monday became the 5th in the so-called ‘Duterte Drug Watch List’ to be assassinated by unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen since 2016. The big question is who killed those policemen? Is it true that well-entrenched drug syndicates ordered their assassination fearful that once they are cornered by authorities, they would spill the beans that would disrupt or even cause the downfall of their multi-billion illegal industry?

I compared notes from open sources regarding the number of policemen who have been killed by RIT criminals over the past three years and learned from my sources that five of them, the last of which is Major Dalson, were indeed included in the government’s ‘narco-list.’

The others are Staff Sergeant Ronaldo Barrameda, formerly assigned with the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, Patrolman Michael Cortes of the Police Regional Office 4-A in Calabarzon region; Staff Sgt. Roel Oriyola, a former member of the NCRPO who was transferred to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office after the PNP started its much-publicized internal cleansing program; and Pat. Carlos Navoa of the PNP Highway Patrol Group.

Dalson was assigned at the Office of the Chief PNP, not because he is known to General Archie Gamboa but to make it easy for PNP investigators to account for him. The same is true with other police officers who have been relieved from their posts for cause. Thus,  it’s really a misnomer to say that policemen who have been administratively relieved from their posts and assigned to the Office of the Chief,PNP are ‘bata-bata’ of the top cop.

Back to work after surviving a helicopter crash in San Pedro City, Laguna on Thursday last week, Gen. Gamboa told us in Camp Crame that supposed to be, they are set to present to Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ed Año the result of the validation of the PNP National Headquarters Adjudication Board (NAB) on the 357 police officers and men implicated in illegal drug activities.

However, due to the chopper crash, Gen. Gamboa said he will explain to President Duterte that the submission of the final report on the NAB validation will be delayed for some time.

The PNP chief said that the NAB conducted a thorough validation of the information regarding the 357 police personnel which included a conduct of a strict background and lifestyle check as well as a checking of their Statement of Assets and Liabilities.

My sources said that due to the killing of the five policemen, the real number is 352, not 357. Of the 352 policemen,  15 have requested to to be allowed to avail of optional retirement while  43 are currently on AWOL (Absence Without Official Leave) status.

I was informed that of the 357 policemen ordered subjected to an adjudication proceeding by Gen. Gamboa amid their reported involvement in illegal drug activities, over 200, at least 50 of them all Police Commissioned Officers, from Lieutenants up to Colonels are expected to be ‘retained’ in the list as a result of the exhaustive validation process.

Several of my sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said that those expected to be ‘retained’ include at least one Full-Fledged Colonel,  more than 25 Lieutenant Colonels, over 10 Majors, over 6 Captains and over 10 Lieutenants who used to be assigned with police stations in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon region, Central and Eastern Visayas regions and in Mindanao.

The officials include two who gained ‘prominence’ for their involvement in controversial police anti-narcotics operations which were later in vestigated by Congress. I was told that the two were investigated for their  involvement in ‘recycling’ of illegal drugs or  for giving protection to known ‘High-Value Drug Targets’ before and during the Duterte administration.

Some of the Police Non-Commissioned Officers on the other hand were tagged as ‘Ninja Cops’ involved in the recycling of confiscated drugs, acting as drug syndicate protectors and receiving monthly protection money from ‘HVTs’ or are drug users themselves, I learned.

The PNP made sure that the accused will be given all the chance to defend their selves and prove their innocence. They initially underwent the first level of validation by an adjudication board from the Regional, National Support Unit and PNP Directorial Staff.

The final adjudication was conducted by the NHQ-NAB chaired by PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Lieutenant Gen. Pikoy Cascolan. The NHQ-NAB’s decision will be approved by Gen. Gamboa and later endorsed to President Duterte for the Commander-in-Chief’s final word.

As I have written in previous columns, some of the 357 are also set to compulsorily retire from the service at the age of 56. Gen. Gamboa also ordered 43 of the 357 who went on AWOL to be tried separately for their latest administrative offense.

The PNP chief said that it is upon the 43 to prove why they failed to report to Camp Crame despite due notice. He said that usually, an erring cop’s alibi in case he fails to heed a summon is that he got sick or due to medical reason but he must be able to present a proof within 24 hours or be marked AWOL.  To be fair to all concerned, the PNP chief has refused to identify those in the list saying he is not into the habit of embarrassing his men and their families.