The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs has recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against members of the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG), including former Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr., in connection with the P6.7 billion drug haul in Manila in October last year.
In Committee Report 495, the panel strongly recommended the filing of appropriate criminal and administrative charges against other individuals allegedly involved in criminal activities, including possession of illegal drugs, planting of evidence, obstruction of justice, and misappropriation of seized drugs.
The committee said the 990 kilograms of shabu seized at the WPD Lending Office on October 8, 2022, was a product of drug recycling and illegally taken from the seized evidence during previous anti-drug operations of the PNP-DEG.
It said there was no buy-bust operation against Ney Atadero on October 8, 2022, and he was arrested by the drug operatives because he was at the premises of the WPD building, being its caretaker, when the raid happened.
According to the panel, the PNP DEG operatives brazenly disregarded the chain of custody rule under Section 21 of RA 9165 when they unreasonably delayed the conduct of the required inventory and photograph of the seized 990 kilos of shabu in the presence of the witnesses and excluded Mayo from the spot report on the alleged raid.
The panel added some of the members of the PNP- DEG operatives involved in the 990-kilo drug raid committed misappropriation and failure to account for the seized evidence when they pilfered significant portions of the said confiscated drugs before they conducted an inventory.
“The recovered 42 kilograms of shabu stashed in luggage inside an abandoned car in front of Camp Crame were recycled from the shabu seized in the WPD Lending office in Tondo, Manila, on October 8, 2022,” it added.
“The release of PM Sgt. Mayo for a follow-up operation is a complete deviation of the standard operating procedures outlined in the PNP Manual on Anti-Drug Operations and Investigation,” it said.
Mayo was actually arrested on October 8, 2022, at around 1:00 p.m. and not in a hot-pursuit operation on October 9, 2022, as reported by the PNP-DEG, the panel said.
Also, the committee said there was an attempt to cover up Mayo’s arrest on October 8, 2022, because of the following circumstances: (a) PNP-DEG’s failure to present Mayo as one of the accused during the inventory and photograph of the seized 990 kilos of shabu; (b) failure to include him in the affidavit of arrest and spot report of the PNP-DEG operation on October 8, 2022; (c) releasing him to participate in a follow-up operation; (d) allowing him to become an arresting officer in the execution of a warrant of arrest against Juden Francisco in Pasig; and (e) recommending him to receive the “Medalya ng Kagalingan” after that operation.
“All these were intended to clear his name and cover up his arrest on October 8, 2022,” said the committee.
The House committee said Mayo should also be charged for possession of the two kilos of shabu during the reported buy-bust operation allegedly conducted prior to the discovery of the 990 kilos of shabu.
The committee also found the entire PDEG Special Operations Unit (SOU) Region 4A liable for planting evidence under Section 29 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2022 since there was no buy-bust operation conducted against Atadero within the premises of WPD Lending on October 8, 2022.
“The PNP, in its official narrative, claimed that Mr. Ney Atadero was arrested in a buy-bust operation at 4:30 p.m. on October 8, 2022, while selling 2 kilos of illegal drugs inside the WPD Lending establishment,” it said.
However, the committee said the CCTV footage from the WPD Lending office disputed their claims that the buy-bust operation took place at 4:30 p.m.
Instead, the panel said it disclosed that the operating unit, led by Police Lt. Jonathan Sosongco, arrived at 1:20 p.m. in the WPD building, escorting a handcuffed individual identified as Mayo.
“After careful scrutiny of the CCTV footage and the contradictory statements of the persons involved, the Committee is certain that there was no buy-bust operation at 4:45 p.m. in the WPD lending office on October 8, 2022. Mr. Atadero was no longer seen in the CCTV footage after this time,” the committee report said.
The panel said the team of Sosongco who conducted the initial arrest of Mayo is liable for the violation of PD 1829 as well as RA 3019, for failure to charge him in the proper court.
“The officers who conducted the staged hot pursuit arrest against PMSg Mayo on October 9, 2020 at Quiapo, Manila are liable for the crimes of perjury under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and planting of evidence under Section 29 of RA 9165,” the committee said.