Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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FIRING LINE: PDEA agents probed for planting evidence

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Anti-narcotics operatives made this strange bust in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, over the weekend, arresting Jason Andres Dumlao in a supposed sting that is now unraveling as a possible case of mistaken identity.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director-General Moro Lazo has reportedly ordered his regional director, Joel Plaza, to investigate the incident and relieve the seven agents involved.

Dumlao, a humble charcoal-making worker, found himself on the ground, facing accusations of drug dealing amid his vehement protests. A sachet of “shabu” was supposedly seized from him.

But all this was caught on video and has gone viral as it shows possible evidence of foul play – particularly an agent suspiciously reaching in from his pocket what they claimed to have been found from the suspect.

Moreover, it is said that the PDEA’s target had a tattoo, something their suspect did not have. He had no prior criminal records. And despite his repeated offers to undergo a drug test to clear his name, Dumlao still languishes in a jail cell as of this writing.

As suspicions fly over the heads of the men sworn to uphold the law, this case deserves an open and thorough investigation to check law enforcers who abuse their authority.

Bomb threat

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla claims the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is already working swiftly to get this bomb-threatening wacko, who targeted the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) last September.

But I wonder whether or not we have enough competent state actors to unmask this unknown e-mail sender, identified as Takahiro Karasawa. Reports say this guy has portrayed himself as a Japanese lawyer from a certain “Steadiness Law Office” and a highly knowledgeable bomb-maker.

This menacing jokester has created similar alarming situations in other countries overseas, suggesting that he has great confidence in eluding detection. So, while the NBI’s collaboration with international law enforcement is crucial and laudable, I don’t know if it’s wise to publicize its effort. 

This is a job for top-level cybersecurity warriors capable of tracing such threats effectively from behind an Internet desk. Yet you have NBI Director Medardo de Lemos urging the public “to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities or information related to this case to the authorities” as if his organization’s pool of “white hackers” is facing a blank wall. Maybe it is.

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