BEFORE proceeding, here’s our sincere greetings to Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, on his 74th birthday. May the Lord continue to protect him and give the wisdom in deciding on matters of state that affect the lives of all Filipinos. Mabuhay ka, Pang. Rody!
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Modesty aside, yours truly was probably the first to break the news that the reason why former police colonel, Eduardo Acierto, was reluctant to surface (he only appeared twice) during last year’s Senate investigation on the second incident of drug smuggling thru the BoC was that there was a P15 million “bounty” on his head (P15 milyon sa ulo ni Col. Jojo; People’s Tonight, December 6, 2018).
My source was his lawyer, whom I consider a good friend, and on Acierto’s “surfacing” anew via a press conference over the weekend, he confirmed this threat on his life.
Last October, about a month since the start of the Senate inquiry headed by SBRC chairman, Sen. Richard ‘You-Know-Me’ Gordon, Pres. Duterte released a ‘drug matrix’ showing the involvement, not only of Acierto, but also, of among others, PDEA deputy director general, Ismael Fajardo and customs intelligence agent, Jimmy Guban, to a well-entrenched syndicate within the PNP, PDEA and the BoC, that was bringing in illegal drugs into the country on a regular basis.
Authorities now say that the apprehension of about 500 kilos of shabu at the MICP last August 7, 2018 and the subsequent discovery in Cavite of four more magnetic lifters found at a Cavite warehouse a few days later and emptied of their 1,600 kilos of shabu, were allegedly brought in by this syndicate.
After the release of the President’s drug matrix, Chief PNP Oscar Albayalde, was quoted by the media as confirming that all those named in the matrix were “former” PNP operatives focused on the illegal drug trade. What he failed to mention was that these policemen, Acierto among them, are also closely identified with Sen. Ping Lacson.
Indeed, the good senator’s relationship with Acierto can be gleaned on his media interview where he urged the government to investigate Acierto’s claim that an “adviser” of Pres. Duterte, one ‘Michael Yang,’ is a drug lord.
On Wednesday, when Acierto’s “revelation” had its desired effect on the public’s consciousness, Lacson said he had “seen” Acierto’s intel report on Yang last year, when the SBRC was heavily engaged in its shabu smuggling probe.
On the other hand, while Sen. Dick yesterday also confirmed being informed by Acierto of his allegation against Yang, Acierto also told him he has “no evidence” to prove his allegation that, for all intent and purpose, is designed to smear no less than PDU30.
“Sa kanya mismo nanggaling (Acierto), wala siyang ebidensiya, eh, paano ang gagawin ko d’yan,” Sen. Dick told Senate reporters. Indeed, how can the Senate act on what is essentially, “chismis,” aber?
At the time of the Senate probe, I was asking Acierto’s lawyer why he decided to take up the case of Acierto? And he replied, “naniniwala ako sa kanya, pare. Malinis ito, nabiktima lang,” or words to this effect.
Additionally, a veteran media colleague based in Camp Crame also swore that Acierto is a “straight guy” and “very professional” and “very good” when it comes to hunting down and unmasking people involved in the illegal drug trade.
But Acierto got entangled in at least two issues that have subsequently “jaded” his credibility.
After the defunct Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) that he then headed got fingered for the death of Korean, Jee Ick Joo, inside Camp Crame in October 2016, I was told that Acierto was transferred to the Firearms and Explosive Office (FEO) -- only to find himself in another controversy, the “disappearance” of over 1,000 AK assault rifles later on found to have been sold to the communist New People’s Army.
It was this controversy that finally put an end to Acierto’s career with the PNP. Significantly, he was dismissed just days before Sen. Gordon is to start his shabu probe, raising suspicion that he was booted out if only to “protect” the image of the PNP, especially when “unwanted details” got revealed that is usual in any serious congressional inquiry.
For one, despite already suspended at the time and in no way connected to the PNP’s anti-drug campaign, why was Acierto still continuing to “feed” “intel” about illegal drugs to the PDEA thru Fajardo? This was among the questions that has bugged Sen. Dick back then.
Indeed, Acierto was with PDEA chief Aaron Aquino and Fajardo when the magnetic lifters were opened last August 7, 2018 at the MICP, according to then Customs Commissioner, Sid Lapena.
When I asked him why he never mentioned this detail during the course of the hearings, his reply was: “Nobody (lawmakers) asked me about it.” Yun lang, hehehe!
With his life in real danger, what with his fellow cops trying to silence him, I did not bother to press his lawyer as to Acierto’s whereabouts or seek an interview to clarify matters in an effort to also help him present his side about his being named in the President’s drug matrix.
But now, we know, by his own admission, that Acierto is under the “protection” of a “religious group.”
Incidentally, most religious groups, the most notorious being the Catholic Church, are against the government’s unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs.
The question then is, was Acierto’s coming out linking Yang (read: the President) to illegal drugs really because of his “love of country” or, was he induced or persuaded to come out as part of a well orchestrated campaign by some quarters to continuously smear PDU30 and destabilize our country?
This matter goes deeper than can be imagined, dear readers.