MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2003  (STAR) By Non Alquitran  - Anti-Drug Special Operations Task Force (AID-SOTF) chief Deputy Director General Edgar Aglipay gave the newly-created AID-SOTF special unit one month to effect its first arrest of policemen guilty of extorting money from drug offenders.

Aglipay stressed that the Special Operations Group (SOG) headed by Senior Superintendent Jaime Calungsod should make inroads against the so-called "bangketa" operations after a month "to serve as a warning against corrupt and undisciplined policemen."

The top drug buster pointed out that AID-SOTF’s accomplishments in the government’s anti-drug campaign are being put to waste because of this illegal operations of ‘bangketa’ cops.

"We accomplished a lot in our anti-drug campaign but the illegal activities of these corrupt cops are putting us in bad light," Aglipay told The STAR in an interview. "Let’s rid our ranks of these bad elements."

Under the scheme, suspects arrested in drug-related cases are kept by the police in a safehouse and will be released only after their families give in to their demands for ransom.

Aglipay forwarded to Calungsod the list of various police units allegedly involved in "bangketa" operations. However, he refused to make the list public so as not to warn the concerned police units of their pending arrest.

Aglipay created the SOG after Superintendent Manuel Vidania, of the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) and six of his men were accused of kidnapping a Cavite businessman early this month. The policemen released their victim after 14 hours after his wife paid P1 million in ransom. Vidania, who is presently in hiding, is facing administrative and criminal charges.

Aglipay vowed to use all the resources at his disposal to have Vidania and his men jailed and dismissed from the service.

The AID-SOTF chief appealed to his men to learn a lesson or two from Vidania as he urged them to immediately file appropriate cases in court against arrested drug suspects to erase suspicion of extortion.

He directed Calungsod to go hard after "bangketa" cops regardless of their rank and "no matter who gets hurt."

"My marching orders to the SOG chief is to run after erring cops who are a disgrace to our organization," said Aglipay.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved