ROGUE police officers and men would be treated as ‘ordinary criminals’ placed in common cells once they are arrested committing major offenses specifically for illegal drugs, Philippine National Police chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan said Monday.
“We would treat rogues in uniform like we treat (arrested) criminals and send them to jail where they will be housed with common criminals,” the PNP chief told newsmen at Camp Crame.
He said that this should be done since in the first place, even jueteng personalities being arrested in anti-illegal gambling raids are being locked-up in police jails until they can post bail.
Cascolan maintained that there should be no difference in the treatment of persons involved in criminal acts, whether they are civilians or public officials or law enforcement agents. However, he said they have to differentiate which criminal act will send a police officer to a jail for common criminals.
He said that in particular, members of the police force have no reason to engage in criminal activities like extortion, drugs and robbery-holdup since President Duterte have doubled their salary already.
The PNP chief also stressed their all-out war against rogues in uniform and illegal drug trafficking and abuse specifically the so-called ‘high-value targets.’
He said that since July 2016, a total of 454 PNP personnel were found positive for drug use during periodic and random drug testing, 429 of them already dismissed from the police force.
“We are sustaining the momentum of police operations with greater focus on high-value targets engaged in trafficking and distribution of illegal drugs. The PNP anti-illegal drugs campaign will be carried out with renewed vigor and aggressiveness with the PNP Drug Enforcement Group leading the charge against the drug syndicates and its network of suppliers, peddlers, patrons; and all other persons involved in illegal drugs including our own personnel,” Cascolan said.
The top cop said that last week, PNP agents accounted for a number of ‘HVTs’ and nearly 5.8 kilograms of shabu worth at least P39 million in the underground market.
One of the most significant accomplishments made by the PNP last week was the arrest of Carlos Tuazon, Melvin Almario and Cedric Pe during a buy-bust operation along Quirino Highway in Barangay San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City.
The three were arrested after they conspired to sell a total of 422.15 grams of crystal meth with a street value of Php 2,870,620.00.
Cascolan said he wants his men to account for more ‘HVTs’ in the country’s illegal drug industry.
He issued the directive to his men led by the PNP Drug Enforcement Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr. whose men since November last year have already accounted for nearly P13 billion worth of shabu and several ‘HVTs’ as well as the different Drug Enforcement Units of the Police Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Police Stations.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 likewise said that ‘small-time’ drug personalities should be arrested and sent to jail so they can spill the beans on their main source of shabu and other drugs as well as rogues in uniform who are in cahoots with them.
“Mas maganda ‘yung mga high-value individuals po ang mahuli. Gaya nga ho ng sinabi ko, these are our focus right now, internal cleansing and, at the same time, anti-drug campaign, we will see to it that we build-up cases against high-value individuals,” Cascolan said.
The new PNP chief’s directive is simple: conduct anti-drug operations with the end in view of catching the ‘big fishes’ or the main suppliers, distributors, smugglers or manufacturers of prohibited drugs specifically shabu which remains the no. 1 drug of abuse in The Philippines.
Two Saturdays ago, PNP-DEG operatives made their 1st major catch under Gen. Cascolan following a buy-bust operation in Mabalacat City in Pampanga which resulted in the arrest of three ‘high-value individuals’ after they conspired to sell 2.5 kilograms of shabu worth P17 million to an undercover officer.
Caramat said that the three identified as Welson Sy Tan, Annabelle San Jose and Mary Joy Perfecto were arrested after they conspired to sell the huge volume of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ to an undercover officer at the parking area of Jollibee hamburger joint in Clark Center in Mabalacat City 10:30 a.m. last Saturday.
Recovered from the suspects’ possession were several heat-sealed plastic bags containing the prohibited drugs and the marked money paid to them by the poseur. The three are now undergoing questioning at their headquarters in Camp Crame and will be facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Cascolan lauded the PNP-DEG’s latest accomplishment.
“May mga huli-huli po tayo na maliliit na tao pero as much as possible gagamitin po natin sila para mahuli ang malalaking isda. I want a much stronger case build-up against these big-time drug lords,” he explained.
Cascolan vowed to continue evaluating their war on drugs to ensure that police officers are doing the right thing when conducting operations against illegal drugs.
He also vowed to spare no one, police officers included if they are found to be engaged in illegal drugs and other criminal activities. “Ang anti-drug campaign natin ay walang pinipili kahit sinuman. Kahit sinuman ho ay aarestuhin namin basta bina-violate niya po ang anti-drug campaign,” he said. He added that he wants the capital punishment for ‘HVTs’ specifically drug lords or operators and maintainers of clandestine drug laboratories and shabu smugglers as well as convicted rapists.
“Ang case buildup po ay hindi lang ho dapat sa maliliit. Kailangan po natin ng kooperasyon ng mga tao para lamang ho makuha itong mga high-value individuals. This will be the focus of the anti-drug campaign. Of course, it will be reevaluated from time to time… we will try to enhance our anti-drug war so that we will be able to arrest more high value individuals,” he said.