The Department of Justice (DOJ) commenced its preliminary investigation into the so-called “ninja cops” accused of drug-related charges.

During the hearing, the panel of prosecutors consisting of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez, and Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Gino Paolo S. Santiago granted the motion filed by the complainants and the respondents for more time to present additional evidence.

The parties were given five days or until October 21, the next scheduled hearing date, to submit their evidence.

The complainant, Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), had requested an extension of time to submit additional evidence and likewise asked to be allowed to file an amended or supplemental complaint.

The CIDG was represented by Lt. Col. Joseph Orsos and lawyer Dennis Wagas. Also present were Brig. Gen. Ignatius Ferro, Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba, Lt. Col. Julius Sagandoy and Maj. Ryan Hernandez.

Except for Maj. Rodney Raymundo Louie Juico Baloyo IV, all of the respondents were present, namely Lt. Joven De Guzman, Jr.; Senior Master Sergeants Alcindor Tinio and Eligio Valeroso; Master Sergeants Dante Dizon, Rommel Vital and Ronald Roque; Staff Sergeant Dindo Dizon; Corporals Gilbert de Vera, Jules Maniago, Romeo Guerrero Jr., and Anthony Lacsamana.

Defense counsel Dennis Muli entered his appearance for all the respondents except for Tinio, Lacsamana and Valeroso who appeared by themselves.

Muli manifested before the panel that the respondents he is representing will no longer file additional evidence but will be filing appropriate pleadings after receipt of the additional evidence of the complainant.

Last week, state prosecutors subpoenaed the 13 police officials, who were tagged in the legislative inquiry into the recycling of seized illegal drugs in Pampanga in 2013, where former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, was formerly assigned as provincial police director.

Department Order No. 528 dated October 7 issued by Secretary Menardo Guevarra required the 13 police officers to participate in the “reinvestigation of the complaint and to submit any additional evidence on October 16”.

The case involves the automatic review of the dismissal of the case by the Pampanga prosecutor against the policemen who were facing charges in violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) for misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for seized drugs, and planting of evidence. (PNA)