Two former high-ranking officials of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas were named as drug protectors by suspected drug lord Franz SabalonesÂ surrendered to authorities last month.
Sabalones, who allegedly operates in the southern part of Central Visayas as a Level 2 drug lord, has given Camp Crame a matrix where he named former Regional Intelligence Division chief Rex Derilo and former Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) chief George Ylanan as the ones receiving protection money from him.
The self-confessed drug lord tagged 18 policemen and a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent as the individuals allegedly involved in his illegal drug operations.
Superintendent Derilo had been transferred to PRO 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) and Superintendent Ylanan to PRO 10 (Northern Mindanao), but both were moved to a holding unit under the office of PNP Chief Ronald â€œBatoâ€ dela Rosa.
In a text message, Derilo said that the accusations against him are â€œtoo much.â€
â€œDuring my stint as R2, I arrested and neutralized a significant number of drug personalities. Most of them were under Franz. I canâ€™t afford to destroy the reputation and respect I established by serving the people,â€ he said. (R2 refers to the intelligence division.)
When asked if he thought Sabalones was retaliating by naming him as a drug protector, Derilo did not reply.
He said that he had served Central Visayas for 18 years, during which he sustained his anti-drugs advocacy.
Derilo was on his way to Camp Crame to report to the national headquarters for an investigation.
He and Ylanan were part of the PRO 7 team that killed suspected drug lord Jeffrey â€œJaguarâ€ Diaz in Las PiÃ±as City lastÂ June 17.
Derilo was then the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) chief, while Ylanan was the RSOG head.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to contact Ylanan but he didnâ€™t answer calls.
â€œWe are still validating their level of involvement. But obviously they are involved in the drug trade,â€ said Internal Affairs Service Deputy Inspector General Leo Angelo Leuterio.
Sabalones claimed that he was paying protection money of up to P507,000 to some police officers, whose ranks ranged from police officer 1 to senior superintendent. (It was not clear if the amount was given weekly or monthly.)
However, Sabalones also said he did not personally transact with the officers, but asked his cook, some neighbors or his gym and billiard buddies to deliver the payola.
Sabalones operated in the town of San Fernando and was allegedly under the umbrella of Peter Co, a drug lord detained in Muntinlupa City.
Sabalones surrendered to Director General dela Rosa lastÂ Aug. 8Â and revealed the names of police officials who allegedly protected his drug trade in the region.
His brother, San Fernando, Cebu Vice Mayor FralzÂ Sabalones, had just been named by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the suspected â€œnarcopoliticansâ€.
But the vice mayor said he was the victim of a case of mistaken identity.
Dela Rosa was mum on the identity of Sabalonesâ€™s protector but said that he had already assigned him to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a UNTV report, Sabalones said that the policemen received P1,000 to P150,000 weekly.
According to the matrix, Derilo allegedly receives P40,000 while Ylanan gets P30,000.
Regional Director Noli TaliÃ±o of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said he has not received any directive from the national headquarters in case some of the officers are still under the regional office.
â€œDepende sa order. Basta kung nasa directive, ipapa-validate natin (It all depends on the order. If itâ€™s in the directive, weâ€™ll validate it),â€ TaliÃ±o said.
Sixteen other policemen and one Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent were also included in the list.
Three of them were from the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO).
CPPO Director Jose Macanas, in an interview, said that some policemen were under surveillance for their alleged involvement with drugs, but that this was a â€œdiscreet investigation.â€
Let justice roll. They will all have their time in court,â€ he said.
As for the names of the province police that were included in Sabalonesâ€™ matrix, Macanas said that the PRO 7 has yet to receive a letter from Crame.
Camp Crame can ask for witnesses in the area who can testify in court on a policemanâ€™s involvement. It can also order the reassignment, relief or dismissal from service of an officer.
PO1 Dave Adcol, who was killed in a gunfight with operatives in Naga and his wife PO2 Marie Genevieve Adcol were included, as well as Police Supt. Teodulfo Manatad III of Carcar Police Station, as seen on the matrix.
PDEA Agent Joel Barsales allegedly received P30,000, the matrix showed.
Other policemen named on the matrix were SPO2 Oneil Nabua of the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB), SPO2 Brazilio Borinaga of the RID, PO3 Roderick YbaÃ±ez of the RSOG, and PO1 Percival Eborlas of the City Intelligence Branch.
PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Director Roel Obusan said he already ordered the policemen whom Sabalones tagged to report to the PNP headquarters for an investigation.(with reports from Willy Maestrado and Sunnex)