Azurin denies alleged massive coverup in arrest of police sergeant linked to drug raid
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr. denied a claim by Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos that there was an alleged massive attempt to cover up the arrest of Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo, Jr. linked to a drug raid last year that led to the seizure of 660 kilos of shabu.
“Contrary to what many of our critics say, let me also categorically say that there was no attempt to cover up or exculpate Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo from his involvement in the illegal drug operations,” Azurin said at a press conference held Monday.
“Why start a fact-finding task group in the first place if there was no intent to dig deeper into this drug mess, which obviously continued through the years?” he added.
Azurin said the creation of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) 990 showed that they wanted to identify PNP personnel who were behind the pilfering of 42 kilos of shabu.
“The move is an indication of my strong resolve to get to the bottom of these illegal drug activities. That I am serious in unmasking the members of the syndicate, whether in the government or in crime group,” he said.
Abalos earlier called on high-ranking PNP officials who were supposedly involved in the cover-up of Mayo’s arrest to file a leave of absence while they are under investigation.
Among those he named were former deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos, Jr. and former PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) Director Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo.
Azurin urged Abalos to “take a second look on the people who may be feeding him misinformation and to cast doubt on the integrity of the PNP organization, which is under his authority.”
In another press conference on Sunday, SITG head Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz announced that 49 PDEG officials and personnel would be charged with criminal and administrative charges for attempting to pilfer 42 kilograms of shabu.
The suspects were also directed to surrender their firearms.
Cruz had also said that Captain Jonathan Sosongco had been heading the pilferage.
Azurin said they had to find the different branches of the alleged drug syndicate within the PNP and the government.
“We need to identify the branches. We are still identifying the branches. This is just one branch in the PNP. We are 227,000 or 228,000 strong. We are looking for less than 100 and yet they have the temerity to accuse me that I am covering up this investigation,” Azurin said.
“So we still haven’t identified the man branch. We are just about to find the other branches outside the PNP and the other sectors of the government, but they are already ruining the investigation of the PNP on the 990 kilos,” he added.
He said officials of PDEG had given information on the alleged involvement of personnel engaged in the recycling of illegal drugs.
Azurin, who is retiring next week, said he told President Ferdinand Marcos to be discerning in choosing the next successor since it was critical in continuing the investigation of Mayo’s case. Jaspearl Tan/DMS