Life term, dismissal await cops ‘recycling’ drugs

October 06, 2019

MISAPPROPRIATION or failure to account for confiscated drugs is a major offense punishable by life imprisonment and dismissal from the service, law enforcement and other public officials were reminded anew yesterday in the wake of ongoing investigation of charges that a group of former Pampanga policemen kept nearly P1 billion worth of shabu they seized in an anti-narcotics operation in 2013.

Section 27 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 is very strict when it comes to the ‘Criminal Liability of a Public Officer or Employee for Misappropriation, Misapplication or Failure to Account for the Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment Including the Proceeds or Properties Obtained from the Unlawful Act Committed.’

There have been charges that the group of former Police Superintendent Rodney Baloyo who was demoted to the rank of Police Major as a result of the highly-irregular anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013 did not file any criminal case against suspected drug lord Johnson Lee. Instead, the scalawag policemen arrested a Chinese national named Ding Wenkun and presented him to the press as the owner of the 38 kilograms of shabu they recovered.

The PNP leadership has been very vocal about the need to fully implement RA 9165. In 2016, the discovery of shabu and ‘tawas’ in the lockers of some Quezon City Police District personnel undergoing investigation for involvement in drug offenses also sparked a controversy.

National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar ordered an investigation on the discovery of shabu and around three kilograms of alum locally known as ‘tawas’ in the lockers of some QCPD personnel ordered relieved of their post amid charges they were involved in drug shenanigans.

The bags of ‘tawas’ found during a cleanup of the QCPD District Anti-Illegal Drugs’ barracks in Camp Karingal that time fuelded speculations they are being used to ‘recycle’ confiscated shabu.

Eleazar has been very strict with his men when it comes to the handling of seized evidence. “We have reminded all our operatives that all evidence, particularly illegal drugs, must be submitted to the Crime Laboratory immediately. To prevent similar incidents, we are also conducting surprise inspections,” he said.

Section 11 of RA 9165 also states that ‘the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10,000,000 shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall possess 50 grams or more of shabu, 500 grams or more of marijuana and 10 grams or more of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil.