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Post  Admin on Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:31 pm

P50-M DOJ drug bribe 'unfairly divided'

Reports about the alleged P50-million bribe for the release of three prominent drug trafficking suspects would not have not leaked out if the money had been divided fairly among its supposed recipients, a source claimed yesterday.

A new informant, who asked not to be named, confirmed to The STAR an earlier report that P50 million allegedly changed hands to expedite the release of drug suspects Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph and Joseph Tecson before the long Christmas break.
“This is a case of cheating – cheating in dividing (of the bribe money) among prosecutors,” the source said.
According to the source, the members of a panel who investigated the case and recommended its dismissal supposedly only received P10 million out of the P50 million.
One of the prosecutors in the panel only received P1 million and the bagman of an “official who had to approve the dismissal of the case” allegedly took most of the bribe money, the source alleged.
State prosecutors involved in the case have already denied receiving any bribe. They said they recommended the dismissal of the case filed against the three suspects by lawyers of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency because PDEA agents committed several lapses in conducting the entrapment operation and handling evidence reportedly seized from the suspects.
The case at the Department of Justice (DOJ) was investigated by State Prosecutor John Regado, deemed valid by Prosecutor Misael Ladaga, who then forwarded it to Senior State Prosecutor Philip Kimpo.
Kimpo approved the dismissal and forwarded it to Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño, who also gave his nod to the recommendation.
Kimpo reportedly said suspects should be released from PDEA custody pending a review of the case ordered by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez. He said this even after President Arroyo herself ordered the National Bureau of Investigation and PDEA not to release the suspects pending investigation of the alleged bribery.
The alleged bribery was exclusively reported by The STAR on Dec. 23, four days after PDEA received the findings of DOJ prosecutors recommending the dismissal of the complaint their lawyers had filed against the three drug suspects.
It was also reported last month that the suspects allegedly tried to bribe arresting PDEA officials with P20 million for their release. A PDEA official reportedly confirmed an attempt by the drug suspects’ camp to bribe them immediately after the arrest.
Families and lawyers of the suspects have denied the allegation, arguing that the dismissal of the complaint was because of their strong defense.
The PDEA said its agents arrested the suspects in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City and Araneta Center in Quezon City on Sept. 20 after they were caught in the act of selling illegal drugs to agents who posed as buyers. - (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)


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