LEGAZPI CITY, July 12 (PNA) -- A top official of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in the Bicol region said three members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Naga City facing investigation as protectors of the illegal drug trade have been relieved of their duties.
Police Senior Supt. Marlon Tejada, CIDG regional operations director in Bicol, said an arrested drug pusher pinned down two policemen with ranks of Police Officer 2 (PO2) and another with rank of Police Officer 1 (PO1) as protectors of the illegal drug activities.
He said the three policemen were on duty at PNP Station 3 in Baranga Penafrancia, Naga City when they were named by the drug suspect.
Tejada, in a phone interview Tuesday morning, however, declined to identify the three policemen for lack of authority to divulge their identities.
He said, however, the three policemen have been relieved of their assignments so as not to prejudice the ongoing investigation.
The three policemen allegedly received protection money from drug dealers operating in Naga City.
Tejada said if found culpable, the three lawmen would face “administrative and disciplinary action” and at most be booted out from service.
“Cops who are behind the illegal drug (trade) are even worse than drug pushers and users,” he said.
The naming of the three Naga City policemen stemmed from a buy-bust operation in Purok Isla Sison, Barangay Penafrancia, Naga City, wherein one of the 13 drug personalities arrested confessed how the three policemen would ask protection money in exchange for not arresting them.
“Isla Sison” is included in the list of illegal drug hot spot areas in Naga City.
Since the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) based in Camp Simeon Ola in Legazpi City launched “Operation Tokhang,” that involves going from door-to-door in neighborhoods of suspected drug users and dependents, it has recorded 6,371 drug personalities-surrenderees in various police stations in the Bicol region, within a span of two weeks, a report showed on Monday.
Tokhang is a Visayan term that means to knock on doors and make an appeal.
The 6,371 drug personalities included 5,774 drug dependents or users and 597 pushers.
Of the 6,371 drug personalities, Albay has recorded 1,679 surrenderees, Camarines Sur - 1,941, Naga City - 133, Catanduanes - 185, Masbate - 532, Sorsogon - 1,009 and Camarines Norte - 892.
A PRO5 report also showed the arrest of 71 suspected drug peddlers while nine suspects, who engaged in a shootout with PNP operatives during buy bust operations, were killed. (PNA) FFC/GVR/MSA/CBD