President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday vowed to build a strong case against Philippine National Police (PNP) officials who are found to be in cahoots with drug traffickers.
The President, in an interview with the press Friday, said it was part of his campaign pledge to carry out a different approach to the country’s drug problem, as he emphasized his government’s efforts to cleanse the ranks of the PNP.
Mr. Marcos said it was he who ordered Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. to seek the courtesy resignation of police generals and full colonels as part of the campaign to cleanse the PNP’s ranks.
“We were planning this for a while. Well, let me be very clear. Remember, during the campaign, when I was asked what I would do with the drug problem? This is it. We approach it in an entirely different way. We all know that the drug problem would not exist if there are no crooked cops involved,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino at a briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.
“We really need to look carefully to see who was involved and who is not really fit for service because they are associated with drug lords,” the President said.
Responding to those criticizing the administration’s approach, Marcos said the PNP hasn’t reached the stage of filing cases and it is still in the initial phase of organizing a commission that will review the background of police officials.
The commission, Marcos said, will look into the records of all the officers as the administration slowly reinstates those who are cleared of any drug links and builds cases against those found involved in the drug trade.
“So we must make sure that if we file cases, we must win and they will be put behind bars those who were really guilty of conspiring with the drug trade,” he said.
PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. and a number of high-ranked police colonels and generals have heeded the call to file their courtesy resignations, but he said some officers refused to do so.
Abalos on Friday said Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong will be one of the five members of the committee that will review the courtesy resignations of police generals and full colonels.
Magalong, a former PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, was known for his integrity and credibility, Abalos said in a TV interview.
He did not reveal who the other members of the committee are.
Magalong, interviewed on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, said the call for courtesy resignations would restore public trust in the police force.
The Metro Manila Council (MMC) also signed a resolution supporting the move to ask high-ranking police officers to hand in their courtesy resignations.
“As a manifestation of their professionalism and patriotism, all PNP colonels and generals must immediately tender their courtesy resignation in order to preserve and protect the credibility of the police organization and remove any and all doubts on its public reputation and stature,” the MMC resolution said.
The MMC, composed of 17 mayors in the National Capital Region, is the policy-making body of the MMDA.
MMDA Chairman Romando Artes said that as public officials, the police must, at all times, be accountable to the people and uphold their sworn duty to serve and protect. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
“The Metro Manila mayors are one with DILG Secretary Abalos’ call to restore public trust to the PNP that is one of the agencies leading the country’s war against illegal drugs,” Artes said.
Manila Police District (MPD) chief Police Brigadier General Andre Dizon on Friday said he has submitted his courtesy resignation.
In an interview over radio dzBB, Dizon said other high-ranking officers of the MPD have also submitted their resignations.
Three generals and 22 colonels from the Police Regional Office in Davao Region (PRO-11) also submitted their resignations.
In an interview, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo Jr., the PRO-11 regional director, said they are one in supporting Abalos’ call.
“We set aside legalities, and we do it purely on moral stance and as a challenge to our character. I think this is one sure way for us to occupy the moral high ground in the campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.
Silo said the resignation of top officials of PRO-11 has no direct effect on their operational activities against illegal drugs.
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