Rivalries among drug syndicates in the military and police escalated when former general Aaron Aquino disclosed that police operatives themselves resell confiscated illegal drugs. Aquino, currently the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief, said this while requesting a P2.5 billion-budget at a senate hearing last September 16. The series of hearings expose the corruption and crimes of the PNP’s highest officials, which are worst under the Duterte regime.
During the hearing, the modus of so-called “ninja cops” was brought up, wherein a part of confiscated drugs are not reported, and are recycled for reselling, personal consumption, or planted as evidence against targets for arrest.
PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde was exposed as a protector of “ninja cops” who kept more than 160 kilos of shabu from 200 kilos confiscated during a raid last 2013 in Pampanga. It was reported that Albayalde requested from Aquino, then PNP-Central Luzon chief, and Rodrigo Duterte to absolve his men.
Aside from the increase in sales of illegal drugs due to “ninja cops,” the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported last March a drastic increase in shabu production in the Philippines in 2018. Shabu shipments from the US likewise increased.
Aside from shabu, production and entry of other types of illegal drugs also rose. This includes the discovery of a manufacturing facility for ecstasy and an increase in the number of cocaine packs smuggled through the sea. Entry of Fentanyl, widely known as Duterte’s drug, also increased. Fentanyl is legal but has narcotic effects like illegal drugs.
Exposés on crimes and corruption in the PNP and AFP is nothing new. This is the violent face of bureaucrat capitalism, wherein the ruling classes employ the reactionary state to further advance the interests of political dynasties and criminal syndicates attached to them. At the top of this bureaucracy sits Duterte, who is also the epitome of corruption and the biggest protector of syndicates.