PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. yesterday said his top anti-narcotics official is doing a good job in going after drug syndicates and rogues in uniform and should be commended, not replaced.
The top cop issued the statement amid calls by some PNP critics that under the principle of command responsibility, Brigadier Gen. Narciso D. Domingo should be replaced as director of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group in the aftermath of the arrest of two DEG operatives for illegal drug activities.
Gen. Azurin made it clear that Domingo , a hardworking member of PNP Academy Class 1992 cannot be accused of ‘command responsibility’ in the case of Staff Sergeant Ed Dyson Banaag who was arrested by agents of the National Capital Region Police Office for selling 25 grams of shabu worth P47,000 to an undercover officer in Sta. Cruz, Manila last January 16.
Banaag yielded the drugs during the sting conducted by NCRPO operatives under Major Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo. Two other policemen who reportedly tried to meddle with the operation were also apprehended by the NCRPO and are now facing charges for obstruction of justice.
However, Gen. Azurin said their initial findings showed that when he was arrested, Staff Sgt. Banaag is yet to report to the PNP-DEG after being transferred to the unit from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“Our initial findings showed that Sgt. Banaag was issued an order form the CIDG to the PDEG. Unfortunately, hindi pa siya nagre-report sa PDEG nung mahuli siya ng NCRPO. Kung titingnan ko nga, AWOL pa nga siya dun kaya malinaw na wala pang direct control si Brig. Gen. Domingo sa pulis na ito,” the PNP chief said.
Gen. Azurin also made it clear that it was Brig. Gen. Domingo and his men who arrested a PDEG agent, Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr. during an anti-narcotics operation in Manila last October which led in the confiscation of some P6.7 billion worth of shabu.
“Si Brig. Gen. Domingo nga ang nag-aresto ke Sgt. Mayo. I don’t see kung bakit siya magkakaroon ng command responsibility dun,” he emphasized.
Gen. Azurin said that he has asked the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management’s Discipline, Law and Order Division to forward the recommendation of the PNP Internal Affairs Service to dismiss MSgt. Mayo to the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to avoid some technicalities which could be used by the accused in the future to seek reinstatement to the force.
“Hindi ko pa pinirmahan ang recommendation kasi I directed the DLOD to forward the recommendation to DIDM para hindi tayo matechnical, para hindi d na makabalik sa serbisyo itong pulis na ito,” he explained.
“We have to look into certain procedures especially documentation para hindi maging rason ni Mayo later na sasabihin niya na hindi nasunod yung proseso,” the PNP chief added.
The PNP-IAS headed by Inspector General Alfegar M. Triambulo submitted their recommendation to dismiss Mayo to the Office of the Chief, PNP.
It was Mayo’s arrest which triggered a major crackdown on rogues in uniform in the police force and prompted Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ C. Abalos Jr. to appeal on all 3rd-Level PNP Officers to submit their courtesy resignations before President Marcos Jr. on or before January 31.
Brig. Gen. Domingo for his part committed to sustain all their operations nationwide amid the controversies that have hounded their unit starting late last year.
“After a few months of being on the lens on allegations and controversies, PDEG strives to recuperate its integrity in conducting transparent and lawful anti-illegal drug operations, particularly on supply reduction,” the official said.
Brig. Gen. Domingo said that in full support of Gen. Azurin’s programs, they are mounting a stepped-up drive versus drugs and going after rogues in uniform at the same time to effectively address the external and internal issues in the organization.