Authorities have confiscated some 990 kilograms of suspected shabu with an estimated value of over P6.7 billion following a series of anti-drug operations in Manila over the weekend.
At a press conference, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos said the yield from the anti-illegal drug operation was probably the biggest haul in the country’s history.
“Of course, ito ay dahil sa kampanya ng ating Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Ang kanyang instruction sa PNP [Philippine National Police] at DILG ang importante ay makuha talaga ang malalaking ganito,” Abalos said.
(Of course, the huge haul is due to President Marcos' anti-illegal drugs drive, with specific instructions to the PNP and the DILG to go after and get the big ones like this.)
PNP Drug Enforcement Group Director Police Brigadier General Narcisco Domingo said that the first operation was conducted around 4:45 p.m. along Jose Abad Santos Street in Barangay 252, Tondo, Manila, which led to the arrest of 50-year-old suspect Ney Saligumba Atadero.
During the interrogation, Atadero said the illegal drugs' storage was located inside the office of lending firm Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc. in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Another operation was carried out in the early hours of Sunday to nab another individual named by the suspect. Domingo said that Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo was arrested on Quezon Bridge in Quiapo, Manila at around 2:30 a.m. on October 9.
Mayo is an intelligence officer for the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, based on police records. He has yet to release a statement on the matter.
“Matapos ang operasyon, nakakuha tayo ng ebidensya sa pagkakasangkot ng isang pulis. Nakuha sa nasabing pulis ang humigit-kumulang na dalawang kilong shabu na nagkakahalaga ng P13.6 million matapos ang ating hot pursuit operation,” Domingo said.
(After the operation, we got evidence of the police officer's drug involvement. Approximately two kilos of shabu worth P13.6 million were recovered from the erring cop during a hot-pursuit operation.)
“Nakuha din natin ‘yung mga ID niya, mga resibo ng kanyang transaction at ibang personal notes na kung saan nakasulat ang kanyang mga ka-transaksyon,” Domingo added.
(We also seized his IDs, his receipts and other personal notes where he had written down his transactions.)
"Actually, maliban sa tunay niyang pangalan ay may iba pa siyang ID na iba ang pangalan. Nakita natin ang pangalan niya sa PNP at unfortunately ay active member siya,” Domingo said.
(Actually, he has another ID with a different name. We have seen his real name in the PNP, and unfortunately he is an active member of the force.)
Authorities also recovered a firearm inside his vehicle.
During a subsequent operation, police operatives also apprehended a certain Juden Francisco and seven others in Pasig City.
Francisco is a "high-value" drug suspect and is said to be the fourth most wanted man in Northern Mindanao, according to Domingo.
“Kasama ni Juden Francisco ang kanyang pitong mga tauhan na initially nagsabi na wala si Juden then eventually nalaman natin na nandoon si Juden kaya damay sa obstruction of justice ang bodyguard niya... mayroon din silang iba't-ibang mga kaso,” Domingo said.
(Juden Francisco was with seven cohorts who initially said that Juden was not around. But we eventually we found out that he was there. His bodyguards who lied about his presence will also face complaints including obstruction of justice... and several other possible charges.)
Meanwhile, PNP chief Police General Rodlfo Azurin Jr. said that they would not tolerate any wrongdoing of police officers under his watch.
“There will be no let-up. We don’t care who gets caught and who gets hurt for as long as we will get the evidence in any crime. We will pursue them until the end. We expect yung pagkakahuli ng ating pulis, na kasamahan pa sa PDEG, ay napakalaking breakthrough para sa inyong kapulisan, na ito ay isang halimbawa na [This capture of a police officer, a member of the PDEG, is a huge breakthrough for the police and an example that] we don't tolerate and will not tolerate any wrongdoing of any policeman under my watch, and of course under the watch of our DILG Secretary,” he said.
Azurin said that that Mayo’s lending business is a “legal front” for drug trade.
“Sa totoo, we found out na dun pala yung tambakan ng mga droga na binebenta nila sa iba’t ibang users at kliyente nila. I would believe and assume na hindi lang ito sa level ni Mayo,” Azurin Jr. said.
(Actually, we found out that there is a dump of drugs that they sell to their various users and clients. I would believe and assume that it's not just at Mayo's level.)
Mayo is currently in custody and a complaint is being readied against him and the other suspects, according to Azurin Jr. — with Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/LBG/BM, GMA News