By FERNAN MARASIGAN & NELSON BADILL / THE MANILA TIMES
TO make sure that seized illegal drugs are not being recycled back to the streets, the Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, on Monday ordered an inventory of all evidence under the custody of the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame in Quezon City. “I am directing the director of the DIDM [Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management] to conduct an inventory of all the evidence under the custody of the Crime [Laboratory]. You check because all that is deposited there might just be alum,” dela Rosa said in a news briefing at Camp Crame. Alum is a double sulphate of aluminium and potassium. “You review them to determine if they are alum or pure [methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu],” he said. Dela Rosa’s order came after an arrested PNP official said an official of the Crime Laboratory is allegedly dealing in illegal drugs. Supt. Lito Cabamongan, former chief of the Crime Laboratory unit of the PNP in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila), tagged Chief Insp. Joselito Savares, PNP Crime Laboratory investigation division chief, as allegedly involved in illegal-drug activities. Cabamongan blew the whistle after he was arrested while sniffing shabu with a female companion in Everlasting Homes, Barangay Talon 4, Las Piñas City (Metro Manila) on Thursday. Cabamongan later tested positive for drugs. Results of confirmatory test would be known this week, according to Chief Supt. Aurelio Trampe, chief of the PNP Crime Laboratory. But officials believed Cabamongan had an axe to grind against Savares because it was the latter who investigated him on several cases on orders of Trampe. Dela Rosa said the PNP is checking Cabamongan’s allegations. “We are checking that but we are not swallowing his claims hook, line and sinker because he was not in his right mind, he was very high [on drugs]at the time. Let’s see, we will conduct an investigation,” the PNP chief added. As of now, dela Rosa said he wants Cabamongan out of the police service. “Just think of it, a colonel in a shabu session,” he added. Las Piñas City police recovered three pieces of rolled aluminum foil, two disposable plastic lighters and three transparent empty plastic sachets with residue of suspected shabu when Cabamongan and his companion identified as Nedy Sabado were caught. Cabamongan and Sabdao also on Monday presented themselves in a preliminary investigation before the Las Piñas City’s Prosecutors Office. In their affidavits, they denied the accusations against them. City Assistant Prosecutor Paul Michael Mejia directed policemen holding the case of Cabamongan and Sabado to submit their counter-affidavits within two days. Mejia set the second preliminary investigation for April 10. Cabamongan and Sabado are facing criminal charges in violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Cabamongan is also facing administrative charges for the same crime. The PNP’s Regional Internal Affairs Service-National Capital Region is investigating the Cabamongan case. IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo, in a statement, said, “Any form of involvement in illegal drugs by our police personnel is treated with utmost gravity. The IAS will continue to act promptly in conducting investigations of cases involving our police officers as we support the PNP institutions’ intensified internal cleansing campaign.