Duterte on abducted police chief: “Sorry for that guy. I leave his fate to the NPA”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 June) – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will no longer rescue the police chief of Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental who was abducted by the New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday night and will instead leave his fate to the NPA.

He said the commander asked him what to do with the police chief. He said he told him “
you have a kangaroo court there, you try him and sentence him to 20 years hard labor.” 

In his press conference on May 31, Duterte called on the NPA to release the police chief kung wala namang kasalanan (if he did not commit a crime), release (him) immediately.”

He added that if the NPA does not release the police chief, he would “go to the mountains” to get him from the NPA.

In a statement dated June 1 but e-mailed to media outlets at 12:42 a.m. on June 2, the Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao said they took Chief Insp. Arnold Ongachen, and 11 firearms consisting of six M16 rifles, one M14 rifle and five pistols.

The statement, signed by spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez, said they raided the polie station
“based on the people’s popular demand to punish the protectors of rampant drug trafficking in the area,” citing reports that Governor Generoso is a “gateway of illegal drug trade in the province.”

Illegal drugs and landgrabbing

The statement said they raided the police station “based on the people’s popular demand to punish the protectors of rampant drug trafficking in the area,” citing reports that Governor Generoso is a “gateway of illegal drug trade in the province.”

It said the NPA “confiscated a sachet of shabu from the police chief following the raid.”

“Furthermore, poor peasants and Lumads have complained that policemen have long protected the landgrabbing activities of prominent families in the province,” it added.

The statement also accused outgoing Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon and 1st district Rep. Nelson Dayanghirang, the incoming Governor, of having an “unholy alliance with drug syndicates.”

Malanyaon will be replacing Dayanghirang as Representative. 

It said the two “know well of the prevalence of illegal drugs” in the province and that their “silence and inaction on this widespread problem only confirm the masses’ belief of the reactionary officials’ unholy alliance with drug syndicates.”

Malanyaon denied the allegations.

“Absolutely no truth”

In a statement sent to MindaNews, she said there is “absolutely no truth to insinuations that my silence and inactions on the alleged rampant drug trafficking in Governor Generoso constitutes an unholy alliance with drug syndicates in the province. Such insinuation is grossly unfair and baseless. You can fault me on anything but not on illegal drugs. Heaven knows how I have passionately spearheaded a campaign against illegal drugs.” 

Malanyaon said the province has strengthened strategic partnership among stakeholders to address the drug menace in the province.

She said she has always called the attention of law enforcement agencies and LGUs in the province to strengthen operations against the illegal trade. 

Malanyaon cited police records showing that 106 anti-drug operations have been conducted since January 2015 and 174 persons have been arrested, that of the 150 cases filed, there have been 12 convictions and that three of these are from Governor Generoso. A high profile drug personality from the same town was killed during the anti-drug operations, she said.

She said the province also gives “equal importance to prevention of drug abuse through advocacy efforts initiated by Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) where communities are able to participate and cooperate in the anti-drug campaign and in raising a high-level of awareness on the evils of dangerous drugs.

“I need proof”

Duterte was asked what he would do with politicians implicated in illegal drugs.

“I need proof,” he said.

A former city prosecutor, Duterte said the rule in criminal law states that mere association with a person who has a crime to answer for does not make you an accessory.”

“It’s not enough to hang the guy,” he said.

He said he will “try to come up with good measures” to suppress illegal drugs within three to six months.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)