PDEA Central Luzon chief, 30 others axed over alleged irregularities

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – More than 30 personnel of the Central Luzon Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency including its director were reassigned to other regional units in the Visayas and Mindanao for alleged violation in the standard operational procedure during conduct of raids and buy bust, it was learned from highly placed sources.

PDEA3 director Juvenal Azurin was transferred to the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and was replaced by Director Ismael Fajardo Jr. from the PDEA elite force, the Special Enforcement Service (SES).

PDEA3 provincial officers including its operatives were also removed and replaced by new “faces” from the PDEA National Headquarters.

“Except for the administrative and technical personnel, the entire PDEA3 staff were booted out of their positions and replaced by new members,” said the source who declined to be named as he is not allowed to speak to the media.

Azurin and his team were implicated by drug suspect Wilfredo Galura in “tanim droga” during a buy-bust at Barangay San Vicente, Bacolor, Pampanga that took place on April 26.

Galura eluded arrest with another suspect but PDEA operatives reportedly recovered sachets of shabu, unlicensed guns including a semi-automatic machine pistol (Uzi) and a calibre .45 pistol at the place of the bust.

Galura, a lead man of the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO), occupies the top post of the most sought-after illegal drugs personalities operating in Bacolor town and nearby areas in Pampanga. He sought refuge in an undisclosed area in Manila where he granted exclusive interview with a Manila-based television network.

Governor Lilia Pineda said Galura, who is in his 21 years in government service, filed an official leave of absence since the drug bust operations on April 26. She said Galura applied for one month vacation.

The source said Azurini’s relinquishment came at a time when the government is at the midst of its intensified campaign against illegal drugs. “Demoralized ang mga ahente…nagtrabaho lang sila pero ang kapalit ay sibak sa posisyon.”

The turn-over ceremony was held at the PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City on Monday (May 22).

“Fajardo’s assignment to Region 3 was a sort of an extension of SES,” said the source who is a former PDEA director in Region 3.

Azurin was relieved under the principle of command responsibility, it was gathered.