SEVEN members of a police anti-illegal drugs unit were relieved following the controversial raid on the house of the relatives of slain Western Visayas drug lord Melvin Odicta Sr.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, ordered the relief of the seven police officers – a Police Senior Inspector, a Senior Police Officer 2, a Police Officer 3, three PO2s, and a PO1 – effective Dec. 21, 2018.
The seven officers were members of the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU) who joined the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 6 (PDEA-6) in mounting an anti-illegal drugs raid on the Regalados’ house at Barangay Sambag, Jaro, Iloilo City on Dec. 13.
The relief came after the Regalado matriarch accused the raiding team of stealing some valuables.
Citing CCTV footages taken inside the house of couple Arnulfo and Nilda Regalado, the family claimed losing jewelries and pricey personal belongings.
At around 11:30 a.m. of Dec. 19, Candelaria Regalado reported to Jaro Police Station that close to P2.5 million of items went missing.
Aside Arnulfo and Nilda, the raiding team also arrested Arnulfo’s brothers Cyril Regalado, 51, and Leo Regalado, 48.
The three are brothers of Meriam Odicta, Melvin’s wife, while Candelaria is their mother.
In a report, PDEA said it recovered nine sachets of suspected shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia, a caliber .45 pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, two bolos, and a knife.
The estimated street value of confiscated drugs was P540,000.
Superintendent Joem Malong, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) spokesperson, said Bulalacao ordered the relief of the RDEU members after saw the CCTV footages.
“They were relieved while investigation is being done to ascertain if they were with the group that entered the rooms,” she said.
Malong said they would like to know the extent of the RDEU’s participation.
Even before the footage was released, the RDEU claimed they were asked to support the operation but they did not go inside the house during the actual search.
Meanwhile, the Regalados said they would file cases for planting of evidence, robbery, and perjury against those involved in the operation.
The likely respondents in the cases are personnel who signed the inventory of the seized items and whose names appeared on the police blotter report.
The PDEA-6 has been under fire recently for failure to immediately file criminal charges against the Regalados over a broken photocopying machine and printer.
This led to the relief of erstwhile PDEA-6 regional director Emerson Margate and eight agents.
PDEA’s failure to file the inquest case against the Regalados has somewhat strained the agency’s relationship with the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6.
A few days later, they were accused of allegedly stealing the subjects’ valuables.
On Dec 17, PDEA-6 finally filed against the four suspects a case for violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
Arnulfo and Nilda were further charged for violation of Section 12, Article II, of RA 9165.
Section 11 is possession of illegal drugs while Section 12 is possession of illegal drugs paraphernalia.