A TOP drug personality under the target list of Negros Island Police Regional Office (PRO) revealed on Monday the illegal drug links of policemen, other law enforcers, local officials, and several other personalities in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.
Ricky Serenio, 34, of Barangay Singcang-Airport, Bacolod City, was presented by Chief Superintendent Renato Gumban, acting regional director of PRO, to news reporters during a press briefing at the regional headquarters in Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. in the city Monday.
Serenio is identified as a level three drug personality, who operates in the city, province, and region.
Serenio said that 15 commissioned officers and at least 20 non-commissioned officers in the city and the province are allegedly drug protectors.
Two media practitioners and members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) also received “payola” from him, he added.
He also revealed the involvement of some personnel of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and court employees, who directly receive “payola” from “the boss” he refused to name.
He did not reveal the names of the personalities he linked to the illegal drug trade since his sworn affidavit is still being finalized.
Serenio, a member of the alleged Berya group, said P30,000 to P125,000 weekly were given to police chiefs based on the number of drug dependents in their areas of jurisdiction in exchange for protection while P50,000 each were given to the two media practitioners.
He added that the drug money given to the police chiefs enabled them to disregard the other members and allies of his boss’s group.
Serenio disclosed that they give 50,000 to P500,000 to a police official to negotiate the release of their member arrested in a police operation.
For his part, Gumban said Serenio’s revelations will be put into writing in the form of a sworn affidavit.
With Serenio’s revelations, policemen confirmed to be involved in illegal drugs will face administrative and criminal charges, he added.
Some of the 15 commissioned officers with the rank of superintendent based on Serenio’s statement were already transferred to PRO-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. However, he refused to divulge the names of the said police officials.
Meanwhile, Mary Divine Grace Cuello, station manager of Bombo Radyo Bacolod, said in a statement yesterday that they will conduct an investigation to determine if Serenio’s allegation that two of their employees are involved is true.
Cuello said they do not tolerate such act among their employees.
She urged Serenio to name the media practitioners to prove his allegation or else, it will only remain a hearsay.
For his statement to be credible, he has to name names, Cuello said.
Serenio said they used to get their supply of illegal drugs from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, but at present they source from Marawi City.
The illegal drugs are placed in a spare tire of a pick-up truck and sealed with a solvent and a carbon paper to avoid being detected by an x-ray machine before these are transported to certain areas in the province via Cebu and San Carlos City, Serenio said.
He added that eight kilos of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) can be placed in one spare tire.
They can earn more than P27 million in profits from the illegal drug transactions in just a few months, Serenio said.
Gumban said they allowed Serenio to be placed under the witness protection program of PRO after his revelations.
Being placed under the said program could help dismiss the cases against Serenio, if he can prove that his revelations are true.
Serenio, who is under the custody of the Regional Special Operations Task Group, is facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives after police recovered from him a .45 caliber pistol with magazine containing five live ammunition and a fragmentation grenade when he was served with an arrest warrant for grave coercion at Rizal Street, Barangay Zone 9 in Talisay City on Sunday.
Serenio said he previously tried to surrender to the authorities, but nobody wanted to help him until he decided to hide when President Rodrigo Duterte declared an all-out war against illegal drugs.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 10, 2017.
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