By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos Jr. called on all colonels and generals of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to submit their courtesy resignation in a radical move to cleanse the institution of those linked to illegal drugs.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Abalos said the move was recommended by Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. himself after Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa confirmed the presence of “ninja cops” in the police force.
“Pagkatapos naming pag-aralan ng ilang buwan ang problema natin, lumalabas na malaki ang problema dito sa kapulisan. Lumalabas na meron mga generals, merong mga colonel na sangkot sa droga (After several months of study, it appears we have a big problem in the police force that there are still generals and colonels linked to drugs). All full colonels to generals. We are appealing, the word is appeal. I am appealing for them to submit a courtesy resignation. We got a list and for us this is upon the recommendation of our Chief PNP and other hierarchy of the PNP. This is the only way to cleanse the ranks fast,” Abalos said.
Abalos did not mention any deadline on when concerned officials must submit their courtesy resignations.
He said a five-member committee will carefully look into the records of the ranking PNP officials and come up with a recommendation to clear them or dismiss them from the service.
While he did not divulge the identities of the committee members, Abalos vouched for their integrity.
Abalos admitted that the courtesy resignation is an appeal devoid of any directive which is similar to what was done during the time of former President Fidel V. Ramos under different circumstances.
“It’s a very radical approach pero alam ko magtatagumpay tayo. Inuulit ko kapulisan, huwag kayo mag-alala. For the meantime tuloy tuloy pa rin ang serbisyo at huwag sila mag-alala, kung sila malinis wala naman problema. Maayos naman ito, iilan lang ito, maniwala kayo, iilan lang ito pero nasa posisyon silang critical. Ang sinumpaan natin sa ating batas when we took our oath of office as public officials in accordance with the Constitution. Tandaan niyo ito ang maglingkod sa bayan (It’s a very radical approach but I know we will succeed. I repeat to our colleagues, don’t worry. For the meantime, the service will continue and don’t worry, if they are clean there is no problem. It’s fine, it’s only a few, believe me, it’s only a few but they are in a critical position. What we swore to our law when we took our oath of office as public officials in accordance with the Constitution. Remember this is to serve the nation),” he stressed.
While admitting that the measure is a shortcut to the usual process, Abalos explained that resorting to legal remedies would entail a longer time frame even if the culprits are already pinpointed.
Meanwhile, PNP public information office chief Col. Redrico Maranan said they are supportive of the DILG chief’s move.
“Kami po sa pambansang pulisya ay susunod at tatalima sa kung ano ang desisyon ng political leaders. Ang alam naman naming ay ang lahat ng desisyon ay para sa ikabubuti ng organisasyon at ng bansa (We in the national police will follow and comply with whatever decision of our political leaders. We know that their decision will be beneficial for the organization and the country),” Maranan said.
Abalos pointed out that the country’s drug war should also involve the barangays, local government units (LGUs) and the public in general.
However, he maintained that all reports of individuals and police officers with drug links are not taken “at face value” as they entail extensive investigation.
Abalos stressed that powerful drug personalities harass good cops by filing false charges or “muscle” their way to inflict harm on them and their families.
“It’s time to review these things although talagang may experts diyan pero walang tatalo kung kasama mo yung taumbayan kasi alam nila sa barangay nila, sa kalye nila, alam nila kaso yung pagsumbong, baka matakot magsumbong, baka hindi mo maproteksyunan kaya sinasabi ko huwag kayo matakot, nandito kami ngayon, magkakasama tayo rito (It’s time to review these things although there are experts out there, but there is nothing insurmountable if the community is behind you. They should know their place and street but when it comes to reporting, they might be hesitant if we cannot assure their protection. So I say don’t be afraid , we are here now, we will be here together),” Abalos said.
On Oct. 9 last year, Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr., a member of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group’s Special Operations Unit in the National Capital Region, was arrested in an anti-drug operation in Quiapo, Manila.
The operation stemmed from the arrest of a drug suspect identified as Ney Saligumba Atadero who yielded over 990 kilos of shabu worth PHP6.7 billion in a buy-bust operation in Tondo, Manila on Oct. 8.
Atadero revealed to police that more illegal drugs can be found inside a lending company office, the Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc., in Sta. Cruz which was owned by Mayo.
During the operation in the office, police found 2 kilos of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP13.6 million.
In a separate statement, Maranan said Azurin will be the first to submit to the assessment and evaluation process.
“The Chief, PNP will be the first to submit himself for the said assessment and evaluation process. Most importantly, the PNP has full faith in the wisdom of our leaders which are always geared towards the good of the PNP organization and of the country,” he said.
Maranan also said the police force sees the measure as an opportunity to aggressively and prudently cleanse its ranks and a chance to show the integrity of the organization amid issues affecting its members.
“While the PNP supports the intention of the SILG to cleanse the ranks, the PNP also believes that 3rd Level Officers who have no involvement with illegal drugs deserve to be cleared from all doubts, innuendos or perception as to his service integrity and reputation,” he added. (PNA)