TWO police officials who were accused of being drug protectors are planning to press charges and seek P10 million in damages from self-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones or whoever made the accusation.

Former Regional Intelligence Division (RID) chief Rex Derilo and former Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) chief George Ylanan will appear today in a hearing in Camp Crame.

They were among the 18 policemen summoned by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), after Sabalones accused them of receiving protection money from him.

But before the two officers speak with investigators, their lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna plans to file a motion asking the CIDG for copies of complaint affidavits against them, if there are any. They want to be apprised of the allegations and file counter-affidavits.

If there is no evidence aside from the matrix, dela Cerna said he will move for the immediate dismissal of the case.

“They have had enough. They have been serving for almost 20 years as career officers and there is no record of any criminality, vice or any complaint. It’s only now and, the thing is, it came from a known drug lord,” dela Cerna said.

Evidence

Both police officials flew to Manila last night.

CIDG has been authorized by the Internal Affairs Service of Camp Crame to investigate the matter.

Aside from the civil suit for damages, dela Cerna said they’re also contemplating on filing a libel case against Sabalones and those who connived with him in orchestrating the allegations.

“I’ll do my best to defend my clients and clear their names the soonest possible time. Allegations are not evidence. They have to go through the crucible of truth, which can only be done in court. That’s what due process of law dictates,” he said.

Meanwhile, Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella urged the Office of the Ombudsman for Military Affairs and Other Law Enforcement Offices to investigate the matter without waiting for a complaint.

“I urge the Ombudsman to take a cue from there so that all of these allegations will be threshed out,” he said.

The filing of a case, Labella said, will also allow Derilo and Sabalones to give their sides of the story.

Witness

Asked if he knew the two officials, Labella said they’ve met in official functions but they’re not friends. Before joining politics, Labella was a director of the ombudsman’s office.

“They’re not my friends. I met them on an official basis. Every time I see them it’s just a nodding acquaintance,” he said.

The region’s top police official that Sabalones can be used as a witness to help the police clear the organization of erring officers.

However, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño also said that by giving information, Sabalones won’t necessarily get away from criminal liability for his involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“We do not tolerate this. We are having our internal cleansing,” he said. “They will have their time in court. Bigyan natin sila ng chance na sagutin yung allegations (They need to be given the chance to answer those allegations).”

Taliño said he was surprised that Derilo and Ylanan were accused of being drug protectors. He pointed out that the two officials led the team that killed suspected drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz in Las Piñas City last June 17.

Surprising

Nakakagulat kasi, again, merong polis na namang involved dito, kung totoo man yung sinasabi ni Franz Sabalones (It’s surprising that police officers are again involved, if what Franz Sabalones is saying is true),” he said.

When asked if the names of the officers in the matrix had surfaced in the intelligence reports that reached the Central Visayas police headquarters, Taliño did not categorically answer.

He said they were validating some information.

He also said they did not submit the names of the officers to Camp Crame.

For his part, Derilo said that Sabalones has an axe to grind against him because he had caught several of the man’s underlings when he was still chief of the Regional Intelligence Division.

He also denied he accepted protection money from the suspected drug lord.

Sabalones surrendered to Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa after his brother San Fernando Vice Mayor Fralz Sabalones had been named by President Rodrigo Duterte as a “narcopolitician” last Aug. 8.

‘Emboldened’

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get the side of the vice mayor on his brother’s drug matrix but he didn’t answer calls. His secretary said that the vice mayor has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

“Do you think mohatag pa siya og protection money sa akoa?” said Derilo. “I can’t afford to destroy the reputation and respect I established by serving the people of Central Visayas for 18 good years.”

The police official further said, “People have to realize and recognize the fact that even during the time when (past) administrations did not have the balls to seriously back up the anti-drugs campaign, there were already some policemen who, with all integrity, just weren’t scared and fought influential drug lords grit for grit.”

In a separate interview with GMA 7, Derilo said the police force was “emboldened” to fight drug trafficking when Duterte was elected president.

Derilo and Ylanan were transferred to PRO 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) and PRO 10 (Northern Mindanao), respectively, last July.

Sabalones also mentioned in the matrix he gave to Camp Crame these officers: SPO2 Oneil Nabua of the Provincial Intelligence Branch, SPO2 Brazilio Borinaga, PO3 Roderick Ybañez of the RSOG, and PO1 Percival Eborlas of the City Intelligence Branch.