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Will PNP Inspector General resign or not out of ‘delicadeza’?

September 20, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 3563 views

Alfred DalizonI’M posing this question in the wake of the scandal that has engulfed lawyer Alfegar Triambulo, the head of the PNP Internal Affairs Service otherwise known as the PNP Inspector General who has defended himself from charges of sexual harassment and grave abuse of power.

Many PNP officials told me that although that Triambulo will be given due process in answering the charges hurled against him by some of his subordinates, the image and credibility of the PNP-IAS as the ‘moral and anti-corruption watchdog’ of the entire police force will have to suffer as a result of the IAS scandal.

One official asked this question: How can the PNP-IAS leadership have the moral ascendancy to issue rulings and recommendations on police personnel who themselves have been accused of sexual harassment and grave abuse of power now that their head has been accused with the same offenses?

Another question asked is this? Has Triambulo–a regular fixture in the regular Monday flag-raising rites at Camp Crame– been given special authority by Malacañan Palace to continue his job despite President Bongbong Marcos Jr’s declaration last July 2 that rendered vacant all government positions including non-career and contractual workers appointed by the previous Duterte administration.

The Palace Memorandum Circular No. 1 said that most of the officials appointed by former President Duterte who held Cabinet, deputy Cabinet posts, and executive positions in government agencies and corporations are considered vacant unless no replacement has been appointed or designated.

Lastly, many officials have mentioned the word ‘delicadeza’ in the case of Triambulo. They even compared him to a number of Philippine government officials who resigned their post after being accused of irregularities in the performance of duty.

One even mentioned the cases of many top Japanese officials who resigned their positions seemingly at the drop of a hat, credit their actions to the supposed centrality of honor, saving face and respect in Japanese culture where public accountability is given 100 percent premium.

On Monday, I learned that Triambulo insisted that he is not covered by MC No. 1 saying that the Palace order specified officials being reviewed by the Civil Service board. He was apparently referring to the Career Executive Service Board which serves as the governing body of the Career Executive Service and the one promulgating rules, standards and procedures on the selection, classification, compensation and career development of members of the CES.

The PNP Inspector General claimed that he must retire at the age of 65, citing the case of Alexis Canonizado, a former PNP-IAS head who retired at the age of 65. A former regional chief of the Napolcom, Triambulo was appointed by former President Duterte to head the PNP-IAS, becoming only the 2nd Inspector General of the force who did not come from the PNP since IAS was created in 1998.

In a highly-emotional talk to IAS personnel, Triambulo lambasted some former and current PNP-IAS officers and men whom he claimed have an ax to grind against him and wants him out from the agency. He also tried to turn the tables down on the female IAS employee who accused him of sexual harassment before the Ombudsman’s office.

He claimed that his accuser faces a string of administrative charges, that she embarrassed him one time for failing to make even a good ‘one paragraph’ report on IAS accomplishments required by former PNP chief, now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, that some people from the IAS are ‘sabotaging’ him.

In his impassioned speech, Triambulo also mentioned that he has lectured his policemen-students in the past not to take advantage of women, particularly not to impregnate them since their children will be the one to suffer.

The question now is who from the PNP will investigate Triambulo, the head of the IAS tasked to probe, thru motu proprio investigation or because of complaints police personnel accused of violating PNP procedures and regulations, and the same agency that can recommend the suspension or dismissal of police personnel based on administrative violations apart from recommending criminal charges against erring cops.

Triambulo has denied sexually harassing IAS employee Genevieve Lipura, the one who filed the charges against him before the Ombudsman, claiming her allegations were merely based on her ‘perceptions.’ She also tried to paint Lipura as an ‘inefficient’ employee.

He made the statement as Lipura claimed she felt insulted, demeaned and humiliated by Triambulo’s order to reassign him to different IAS positions several times as well as her demotion from Administrative Officer with Salary Grade 18 to a computer operator with Salary Grade 9.

The married woman claimed that during a dinner with Triambulo, the latter told her he brought a ‘jacket’ or condom and later asked her to kiss him on the cheek. The complainant said she met Triambulo to discuss her problem as an IAS employee with him.

In a letter to PNP chief, General Jun Azurin, a group of PNP-IAS personnel accused Triambulo of “violating his oath of office, betraying public trust, grave abuse of authority, serious misconduct, immorality, gross dereliction of duty and graft and corrupt practices while in the performance of his official duties.”

“What if in the discharge of his “official duties” the Inspector General betrays the “trust & confidence” reposed on him by Republic Act 8551? Or, of the appointment extended by the Chief Executive? Further, what would be the recourse/remedy of a person aggrieved by actions of the Inspector General discharge in relation to his office when IAS procedure dictates that all “appeals” to be disposed of by himself alone?, the executive summary forwarded to the Office of the Chief,PNP said.

The complainants said that “Inspector General Triambulo since his appointment in 2016, committed grave & serious acts/omissions that betrays the trust & confidence of the appointing authority.”

They cited the sexual harassment filed against him by Mrs. Lipura, a PNP-IAS regular employee since 2002. The woman said she has been transferred to five different assignments by Triambulo since 2016 who eventually made sexual advances on her when she tried to talk with him after learning that she will be downgraded to an IAS computer operator

The official was also accused of abuse of authority by Colonel Fermoyle Meno, the Deputy Regional Director of Regional IAS 5 in Bicol for allegedly ‘protecting and failing to prosecute or cover-up’ some of his men who have tested positive for drugs or for committing a number of irregularities.

The group likewise accused him of initiating ‘trumped-up charges’ and conducting a ‘fishing expedition’ on Atty. Maria Lynnberg Constantinopla, the deputy chief of the IAS Legal Affairs Division after reportedly learning that the latter is being considered to replace him.