'VIP inmates' dishearten PH narcs

Posted at 06/05/14 12:45 PM

MANILA – Anti-illegal drugs policemen are dismayed by reports that some convicted drug lords are enjoying VIP treatment inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), with some even continuing their illegal drug operations while behind bars.

Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia, Jr., head of Philippine National Police's Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) Legal and Investigation Division, said the special treatment given to convicted drug lords mock efforts of policemen to capture these suspects and secure convictions.

''Nakakapanlumo ang balitang iyan. Matagal na nating naririnig na patuloy ang pamamayagpag ng mga drug lords sa kulungan kahit convicted na,'' Merdegia told dzMM.

''Ang mga operatiba ay nalulungkot, mababa ang morale dahil parang walang saysay ang ginawa nilang pagsasakripisyo para mahuli, ma-convict ang mga drug lords."

Merdegia said some policemen lost their lives due to their work. Some police officers who testify in drug-related cases continue to receive death threats, he said.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday ordered the relief of NBP Chief Supt. Fajardo Lansangan and 12 jail guards over the alleged special treatment being given to high-profile inmates, one of whom even had starlet Krista Miller as a guest in his room at a private hospital.

Lansangan will be replaced by Supt. Robert Rabo, according to Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III..

Convicted drug lord Ricardo Camata, a leader of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik gang, was admitted to the Metropolitan Hospital in Manila to receive treatment for a lung ailment.

However, starlets and dancers were reportedly brought inside his hospital room, in violation of whatever pass he may have been granted.

Convict Herbert Colangco, leader of a bank robbery gang responsible for a series of robberies in Pampanga, Quezon City, and Paranaque between 2003 and 2005, and believed to be allied with the Waray Waray and Ozamis robbery gangs, was also bought to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang for urinary tract infection.

Convicted drug lord Amin Buratong, who used to operate the P900-million shabu tiangge in Pasig City, was taken to Medical City due to recurring coronary artery disease and a liver ailment.

Merdegia said although Colangco was involved primarily in robberies, his group was tagged in the rescue of three Chinese drug lords Tian Hua, Wang Li Na and Li Lan Yan alias "Jackson Dy" last year.

Merdegia also confirmed that AIDSOTF has been receiving intelligence reports that some convicted drug lords are still able to conduct illegal drug operations while behind bars.