Calabarzon PDEA director, 61 personnel discharged

A regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and 61 others, including agents, have been relieved of their posts following irregularities in the conduct of their anti-illegal-drugs operations.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino relieved Archie Grande, director of the PDEA Regional Office in Calabarzon, and 61 agents and administrative and technical personnel assigned in the operations unit group.

“They were discharged from duties after intelligence reports linking them to a series of unlawful arrests and extortion activities in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite,” Aquino said.

According to reports, those relieved were also involved in the unlawful issuance of PDEA regionalized identification cards (IDs) to confidential assets or informants.

On February 24 a certain Jhay-R Repana, 31, who introduced himself as a PDEA agent, was involved in a shooting incident in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City.

Repana was later arrested in a follow-up operation by local authorities in a hospital in Santa Rosa, Laguna, resulting in the seizure of one plastic sachet of shabu, drug paraphernalia and a firearm inside his vehicle.

A certain Joseph Martin Patrick Borjal, who tried to assist Repana to the hospital, was also apprehended after showing a PDEA ID alleging he is a confidential agent.

“PDEA does not issue IDs to nonorganic personnel, including assets and confidential informants. We only authorized the issuance of an ‘Agent’s Agreement’—a project-based contract [maximum of six months] to them, to perform intelligence works against specific high-value targeted [HVTs] drug personalities,” Aquino noted.

Aquino added that he will not hesitate to dismiss the relieved personnel if evidence so warrants.

“Those personnel are now undergoing thorough investigation and were placed in the agency’s administrative holding unit. If they are found guilty after due process, we will dismiss them right away,” he said.

“Once the credibility of an organization is put at stake, in this instance, the PDEA, we will not tolerate anyone who deliberately besmirch its integrity. We will remove rogue agents from our ranks so they will not have the chance to influence the others,” he added.

The PDEA chief reiterated his warning to the public to be wary against unscrupulous people who masquerade as agents out to discredit the agency.

He encouraged the public to remain vigilant in spotting these impostors.

On February 4 several persons wearing fabricated PDEA uniforms, while tagging along alleged arrested drug personalities and were aboard two vehicles, were captured on closed-circuit television cameras in Barangay Ususan, Taguig City.

However, the same group managed to elude arrest after engaging the authorities in hot pursuit in the same barangay two weeks later.

The Taguig City police identified the suspected fake PDEA agents as Ryan de la Cruz, Noel Rosas, Anthony Ordoñez, Myrene de Vera, Ghakiez Tekma and Aristotle Go Quintana. Three others were not identified.

The suspects are now facing charges for kidnapping, violation of Republic Act 7610, or the Antichild Abuse Act, and usurpation of authority.

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Rene P. Acosta covers defense, law enforcement and national security for the paper. He had written for a number of publications, including abroad before he joined BusinessMirror. His works had appeared in the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Asia Pacific Defense Forum, both in the US. He took up regional security with the International Visitor Leadership Program, US. He is currently the chairman of the board of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines which he had headed in 2009.