PNP reiterates serious drive vs. rogue cops

REWARD FOR CIVILIANS ONLY. Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde says only civilian informants, not law enforcement officials, are entitled to the PHP5-million reward announced by President Rodrigo Duterte for the neutralization of the so-called "ninja cops" or rogue police officers engaged in the illegal drugs trade, in a media briefing held at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Monday (Aug. 20, 2018). (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is serious in its internal cleansing program with the continuous conduct of intelligence operations to remove rogue police personnel from the force, PNP Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde reiterated on Tuesday.

Albayalde made the reiteration after Supt. Santiago Ylanan Rapiz was killed Monday night when he allegedly shot it out with his fellow cops during a buy-bust operation in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.

Tayo ay nalulungkot kung bakit hanggang ngayon meron pa rin tayo nakukuha or nahuhuli or minsan na eengkwentro na miyembro ng PNP na nai-involve sa illegal activities particularly sa illegal na droga (We are saddened why there are still cops caught or sometimes we engaged in a firefight when they are involved in illegal activities particularly in illegal drugs),” Albayalde told reporters during the 2nd National SWAT challenge in Davao City.

“Although we want to assure the public, the Filipino people na hindi po tayo titigil hanggat maubos sa aming hanay itong mga tiwaling pulis (we will not stop until these rogue police personnel are eliminated from the force),” the PNP Chief added.

When asked how many cops are involved in illegal drugs, Albayalde said: “Based on our counterintelligence watchlist, there were allegedly involved in illegal activities more or less 1,200 to 1,700 whom we are continuously monitoring but this does not necessarily mean they are involved. Kaya lang tayo nagkaroon ng (So we got) watchlist is because we get information that needs to be validated and confirmed.”

Meanwhile, Counter-Intelligence Task Force (CITF) commander Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. said Rapiz is assigned as the logistics officer of the Zamboanga del Norte Police Provincial Office.

He said the sting operation which resulted in Rapiz’s death was conducted by the CITF personnel in coordination with the local police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in front of Andres Bonifacio College Gymnasium in Dipolo City around 7:40 p.m. last Monday.

Caramat said Rapiz sold illegal drugs to a poseur buyer but when he sensed that he was dealing with police officers, the operation resulted in a shootout.

He said Rapiz yielded at least 125 grams of suspected shabu, amounting to over PHP500,000.

Caramat said Rapiz was formerly assigned in Region 6 (Western Visayas) but was transferred in Zamboanga City due to his alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

He said aside from being a drug distributor, Rapiz, who is included on President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s drugs watchlist, was also the drug protector of alleged drug lord, Iloilo-based businessman Melvin Odicta.

“Based on our information is one of the drug protectors of Odicta drug syndicate when he was assigned in Region 6 and allegedly, he was receiving PHP700,000 weekly from different drug personalities in Region 6,” Caramat said.

“His name came out as drug protector when several high value target (HVT) was arrested by PDEA. During police interrogation, his name came out as drug protector of these arrested HVTs,” he said, noting that is why Rapiz has been included on the drug watchlist.

He said Rapiz has several houses and vehicles in Bacolod City which he cannot afford based on his monthly salary.

Caramat said more police personnel in the said regions were under monitoring after they were named by arrested drugs personalities.

He said Rapiz was the ninth police officer who was killed amid the PNP’s intensified campaign against erring cops particularly those involved in illegal drugs transactions. Rapiz was the third killed in Zamboanga City.

Among the killed police officers were Senior Insp. Raymond Hortezuela who was killed in CITF operation in Mandaue City, Cebu; PO2 Gemmo Meneses who was killed by police operatives in Morong, Rizal; PO3 Marco Hashim Alegre who was killed in a buy-bust in Occidental Mindoro; and PO2 Ian Rey Abitona who was killed in Infanta, Quezon.

PO3 Ronald Bernardo and PO2 Maria Oliver Olaso were killed during a buy-bust in Barangay Ayala in Zamboanga City.

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