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November 2013 Pampanga drug bust report doctored, says ex-police official

The 13 police officers ordered dismissed due to their alleged involvement in the recycling of seized illegal drugs lied about their November 2013 operation in Pampanga by turning over reduced number of confiscated illegal drugs, a former police official told a Senate inquiry on Thursday.

Retired Police General Manuel Gaerlan, former deputy regional director for operations in Pampanga, dropped this information after Police Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Raymundo Louie Baloyo, the leader of the team, shared the details of the operation.

Baloyo, during the hearing, recounted the November 29, 2013 drug bust in Pampanga, saying his team was able to pull off the drug bust by 4:30 p.m. or just two and a half hours after they received information regarding a Chinese drug trafficker from a neophyte police informant.

Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned how Baloyo and his team could have verified the information given by the informant, secured P100,000 worth of marked money, conducted surveillance on the supposed drug den, and finally pulled off the drug bust in only two and a half hours as stated in the spot report.

To this Gaerlan said, “Kasinungalingan po ang spot report to cover up what really happened nung umaga. Alas diyes nila nang umaga pinasok [ang drug den].”

It was Gaerlan who was tasked to investigate the operation done by Baloyo and his team.

“Nung una, tuwang-tuwa po kami. It is not every day we are able to confiscate 36 kilos of illegal drugs. Later on, nalaman po namin ‘yung irregularities. Hindi lang po 36 kilos, kung hindi 200 kilos,” Gaerlan added.

Gaerlan also said Baloyo and his crew conducted the drug bust without clearance from their superiors, without search warrant, and with belated coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

At that time of the 2013 drug bust, current Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde was serving as provincial director of Pampanga. He was accused of trying to intervene in the case of the 13 police officers.

Baloyo and his team were initially ordered dismissed in 2014, but their dismissal order were only served in March 2016.

Police officials during the hearing could not say with certainty why such dismissal order was shelved for almost two years.

Baloyo and 12 others filed a motion for reconsideration also in March 2016, and the PNP later decided that they be demoted instead of dismissed.

Albayalde, however, admitted that he has asked then-PNP Region 3 Regional Director Aaron Aquino in 2016 not to implement the dismissal order against 13 police officials who were previously under supervision. During this time, Albayalde was Regional Director of National Capital Region Police Office.

Albayalde, however, said his call was not intended to influence Aquino, who is now PDEA chief.

Despite his testimony against Baloyo and his team, Gaerlan cleared Albayalde of any liability.  “Wala po kaming nakalap na ebidensiya o testimony implicating him,” he said. —KBK, GMA News

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