Benjamin Abalos

TOP COPS ‘AXED’

July 25, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 410 views

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday accepted the courtesy resignation of 18 of the 953 Third-Level Philippine National Police officials who were subjected to a thorough investigation by a 5-Man Committee headed by former PNP chief, now retired General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. and the National Police Commission chaired by Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ C. Abalos Jr.

The 18 include three 1-star generals, all from PNP Academy Class 1993 and 15 Colonels who are also all products of the PNPA.

The 18 are Brigadier Generals Remus B. Medina, Randy Q. Peralta and Pablo G. Labra II and Colonels Rogarth B. Campo, Rommel J. Ochave, Rommel A. Velasco, Robin K. Sarmiento, Fernando R. Ortega, Rex O. Derilo, Julian T. Olonan, Rolando T. Portera, Lawrence B. Cajipe, Dario M. Menor, Joel K. Tampis, Michael A. David, Igmedio B. Bernaldez, Rodolfo C. Albotra Jr. and Marvin B. Sanchez.

President Marcos, during his second State-of-the-Nation-Address revealed he would accept the resignations of “unscrupulous law enforcers and others involved in the highly nefarious drug trade.”

Some of the 18 who spoke to the Journal Group on condition of anonymity said they will question the PNP and Napolcom recommendation approved by President Marcos Jr. before the court. One of the three 1-star generals said he is ‘ready to die today’ if it will really be proven that he is involved in illegal drug activities.

One of the 15 colonels also said he has never been assigned to any Drug Enforcement Unit since he joined the force.

Some also maintained they did not file a ‘courtesy resignation’ addressed to President Marcos thru Sec. Abalos and Gen. Azurin last January and instead wrote a letter to the Chief Executive airing their full support to the administration’s effort to cleanse the police force of officials with drug links.

“We are fighting for our career here and most importantly, our reputation and that our family’s. What’s the basis behind the charges against us? Can they show the details of our involvement in illegal drugs so that we can answer them point by point,” said one of the three generals.

Brig. Gen. Medina and Brig. Gen. Peralta were relieved as Quezon City Police District director and PNP Drug Enforcement Group director respectively by Gen. Azurin shortly after he took over the top PNP position last August 1.

Brig. Gen. Labra was relieved as director of the Police Regional Office 13 in Caraga region only last week.

Some of the police colonels are already occupying Command Group positions in the regions while others were already relieved from the posts since last year. Others are occupying key positions in different PNP regional offices and PNP national operational support units.

Press Secretary Cheloy Garafil said that PNP chief, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. is monitoring the 18 officials, some of them already relieved from their posts.

Gen. Acorda said that the 18 would be assigned to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management “to preclude them from exerting further influence and/or performing illegal activities using their positions.”

Garafil said this was the result of the investigation conducted by the 5-Man Committee composed of Gen. Azurin, now Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr., retired General-turned Baguio City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, retired General-turned Office of the Presidential Consultant for Military-Police Affairs Assistant Secretary Isagani R. Nerez Jr. and retired Court of Appeals Associate Justice Melchor Q. Sadang.

The panel looked into the records and documents of the 953 3rd-Level Officials who submitted their individual letters of resignation.

The names of the 18 were released by the Palace amid a previous statement by Sec. Abalos that the identities of those who will be found to have ties to illegal drugs will remain confidential.

Abalos said that the Napolcom, through the initial review of the 5-Man Committee, submitted to President Marcos the list of the PNP generals and colonels who tendered their courtesy resignations and eventually determined to have links with organized drug syndicates based on their evaluation.

Last January, the DILG chief said he wants those who were found positive for involvement in illegal drugs ‘to retire silently.’ He added that if authorities have sufficient evidence for a criminal case, this can be pursued in court in accordance with the country’s laws.

Abalos had pointed out that their ‘surveillance, monitoring and investigation’ of all police officers will continue as it is important to eradicate the drug problem once and for all.

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