MANILA — Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers today urged Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos to dig deep into the alleged “double coverup” and “double recycling” attempts by police officers involved in the Oct. 8, 2022 drug raid in Tondo, Manila that resulted in the seizure of 990 kilos of shabu and the arrest of police anti-drug agent Rodolfo Mayo Jr.
Barbers, chair of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, explained that based on documents and video footage of the said incident, the first of the “double coverup” attempt transpired when officers from the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) tried but failed to come up with a scheme to “free” Mayo purportedly to be “used” in a follow-up drug sting operation in Pasig City.
“At base na rin sa official report ng PNP-DEG, hindi isinama ng arresting team si Mayo sa inventory ng persons arrested at mga seized drugs sa Tondo. At may spot report pa ang PNP-DEG SOU NCR na kasama nila si Mayo, on same day na naaresto sya, sa isang drug raid sa Pasig City,” he added.
The second coverup attempt, the solon from Mindanao said, was when two officers from the PNP-DEG Special Operations Unit 4a – P/SMS Jerrywin Robosura and P/SMS Lorenzo Catarata – were captured in a CCTV footage for loading into a white car two black bags containing shabu.
“At first, the reports said the bags only contained 30 kilos of shabu purportedly to be paid out to the PNP-DEG SOU 4a “assets”. It turned out the bags contained 42 kilos during an inventory, and if they succeeded in covering it up, Robosura and Catarata would have a “savings” of 12 kilos of shabu,” Barbers said.
On the issue of what was believed to be a “double recycling” attempt, Barbers said two kilos of shabu, part of the more than 990 kilos of shabu under safekeeping and custody of Mayo, was reportedly seized from him during a drug buy-bust operation against the latter on the same day on Oct. 8, 2022.
“Dito, sa mga oras na ito, nahuli na nagbebenta ng shabu si Mayo na PNP-DEG agent,” Barbers said.
The second attempt, he said, was the “stealing” of 42 kilos of shabu from inside Mayo’s WPD Lending office that was caught on CCTV video footage and which was declared officially as only 30 kilos purportedly to be paid out to PNP-DEG “assets,” leaving 12 kilos more of shabu as “savings.”
“Unang-una, hindi kukupit ng 42 kilos si Robusura at Catarata ng hindi alam ng kanilang mga superiors at kasamahan. At kung yung 42 kilos ay hindi idideklara ng mga ito sa official inventory report, ano sa palagay natin ang gagawin nila. Malamang ire-recycle din nila yan,” Barbers said.
On the part of SILG Abalos, Barbers said the former apparently was “blinded,” if not “hoodwinked,” by his subordinates from the PNP on what really transpired on the ground during the said drug raid.
He was present and led the Oct. 10, 2022 press conference about the drug haul while still warming up his seat as the new DILG chief.
“Sec. Abalos at that time was made to believe that Mayo was arrested in a hot pursuit operation by PNP-DEG agents at Quezon Bridge, Quiapo, Manila for possession of 2 kilos of shabu. Pero base sa mga naglalabasan na CCTV video footage sa crime scene ay malinaw na walang ganitong nangyari. At may ginawa pang spot report si P/LCOL Arnulfo Ibanez, OIC chief ng PNP-DEG NCR, na kasama umano nila si Mayo, on same day na nahuli sya sa Tondo, na umaresto kay alleged drug lord Juden Francisco sa Pasig City,” he said.
“Ang isa pang sablay sa report ni Ibanez ay di trabaho ng PNP-DEG NCR SOU ang pagse-serve ng warrant. At ang insulto pa rito, based on same report, ay inirerekomenda pa ni Ibanez na bigyan ng Medalya ng Kagalingan si Mayo sa paghuli sa wanted na si Juden Francisco,” he added.
Abalos earlier asked all police colonels and generals to submit their courtesy resignations as part of the DILG’s campaign to rid the PNP of officers allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
Later, he announced that there was a massive attempt to cover up the case of Mayo.
The DILG chief said the police officers seen in the CCTV video footage at the crime scene in Tondo were Police Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr. who was then Deputy Chief PNP for Operations; Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, director of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG); Col. Julian Olonan, chief of PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) Special Operations Unit (SOU) Region 4A; Capt. Jonathan Sosongco, head of the PDEG SOU 4A arresting team; Lt. Col. Arnulfo Ibañez, OIC of PDEG SOU National Capital Region (NCR); Maj. Michael Angelo Salmingo, deputy of PDEG SOU NCR; Lt. Col. Glenn Gonzales of Quezon City Police District; Lt. Ashrap Amerol, intelligence officer of PDEG Intelligence and Foreign Liaison Division; Lt. Col. Harry Lorenzo, Manila Police District Moriones Station Commander; and Captain Randolph Piñon, chief of PDEG SOU 4A Intelligence Section.