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DOJ seeks HDO of 5 narco-police

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sunday said it will seek the issuance of a precautionary hold departure order (PHDO) against the five active and two dismissed police officials tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as involved in illegal drug activities.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they would apply for an HDO after the fact-finding investigations were completed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“Our prosecutors may apply for precautionary hold departure order (PHDO) with the courts as may be deemed necessary,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.

The DOJ chief has earlier ordered NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct a fact-finding investigation to validate and build possible cases from the intelligence report that implicated officials from PNP, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the supposed “recycling” of seized shabu and in operations of illegal drug syndicates.

Guevarra said the NBI, investigative and law enforcement arm of DOJ, was also tasked to build possible cases from its probe.

“If the evidence warrants, the NBI will file a formal complaint with the DOJ for preliminary investigation,” he noted.

Based on a report dated Sept. 12, 2018, the President revealed another matrix, which tagged retired Senior Superintendents Eduardo Acierto and Leonardo Suan, former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy chief for administration Supt. Ismael Fajardo Jr., Supt. Lorenzo Bacia, Inspectors Lito Pirote and Conrado Caragdag, and Senior Police Officer 4 Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag as involved in the “enormous” illegal drugs network in the country.

Duterte first made public the “Secret Special Report” on the involvement of high-ranking law enforcement officials iin the drug trade in a Palace event, where he asked his top aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, to provide the media copies of the 15-page document.

PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier said these officers have already been relieved from their positions to give way to a fair investigation.

Once issued, a PHDO prevents the flight of the officials during the conduct of the preliminary investigation.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court (SC) created the PHDO to replace the watchlist order, which was previously issued by the DOJ to prevent subjects of a criminal investigation from leaving the country.

After the SC stopped the issuance of a watchlist order, the DOJ had previously resorted to the issuance of lookout bulletin order (LBO) to prevent flight of personalities and individuals facing criminal investigation who are flight risk.

Once the court rules in favor of the DOJ’s move, the police officials tagged in the narcotics trade will be the first subjects of PHDO. (PNA)