By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday announced that its five-member advisory group is almost done with the screening of third-level officials for their possible involvement in illegal drugs.
“Today, the advisory group is on the final stretch of the review and evaluation of the documents of 3rd Level Officers of the PNP,” said PNP Public Information Office chief, Col. Redrico Maranan, in a press statement.
Maranan added that the advisory body would complete the screening process ahead of the retirement of PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., who is one of its members.
Azurin will retire from the service upon reaching the mandatory age of 56 on April 24.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Makatao” Class of 1989, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. appointed Azurin as the country’s 28th top cop in August last year.
Azurin, who has been in the police service for over 38 years, is the first PNP chief of the Marcos administration.
Other members of the advisory body — retired police general and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Undersecretary Isagani Nerez, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and retired Court of Appeals Justice Melchor Sadang — were present in the meeting and has a unified commitment to end the evaluation process and exerting all efforts to finish the proceedings.
Maranan said the committee is bound to prepare their report to Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. for his subsequent endorsement to the President once they have completed the screening.
“As they have ended the proceedings for today, the advisory group has conveyed that they will accomplish their tasks efficiently and uncompromisingly without any bias. Until the end of the process, they remained to be a body cloaked with the highest integrity expected of them and have been judicious in all their past undertakings,” said Maranan.
Based on the agreement, officials whose resignations would be accepted would be forced to retire, regardless of how long they are supposed to still stay in the PNP.
The mandatory retirement age of uniformed personnel of the PNP is 56 and those who were asked to resign include generals and police colonels, some of whom still have at least eight years in the service.
On Jan. 4, Abalos called for the courtesy resignation of 955 police colonels and generals to cleanse the ranks of those involved in illegal drug activities.
Abalos said the committee would thoroughly vet police officials and submit the names of those whose resignations are accepted to the Napolcom for another round of verification before submitting their recommendation to the president.
The move aims to cleanse the ranks of officers in the police organization from possible influence or connivance with drug syndicates. (PNA)