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Bato: More narco cops to be named

PNP chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa expressed belief that President Duterte has more to reveal but refused to elaborate, saying he does not want to preempt the President. Facebook.com/RonaldBatoDelaRosa

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte could reveal more names of police officials linked to illegal drugs, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa said yesterday.

De la Rosa expressed belief that Duterte has more to reveal but refused to elaborate, saying he does not want to preempt the President.

“The President has more in his list. I don’t want to preempt him from divulging that additional info. We’ll just have to wait and see. My observation is that he has more to reveal,” he added.

De la Rosa said the list could contain the names of lower ranking police officials.

Duterte on Tuesday named five police generals allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Duterte said one of the police generals was former PNP deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr., whom he accused of being a “protector of drug syndicates.”

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The other four were identified as Director Joel Pagdilao, Chief Supts. Bernardo Diaz and Edgardo Tinio and retired police general Vicente Loot.

Garbo and Loot have left the police service. Loot is the newly elected mayor of Daangbantayan town in Cebu.

Diaz was relieved last week from his post in Region 7. Tinio served as director of the Quezon City Police District Office, while Pagdilao was director of the National Capital Region Police Office.

Duterte disclosed the names of the police generals in his extemporaneous speech during the 69th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force at Clark Field, Pampanga.

He made the disclosure while reading the names written on a piece of paper.

“There will be more coming… For all we know, and you know from this coming list, from superintendent to PO1 (Police Officer 1), there’s so many of them,” De la Rosa said.

If ever the President has more information about other policemen involved in illegal activities, De la Rosa said the information is classified and should not be disclosed in public.

When asked if the information was supplied with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (US-DEA), De la Rosa replied he would not discuss it.

“Even if there was (US-DEA help in information gathering), I will not discuss that. We don’t want to preempt the investigation… Let’s just wait for the outcome of the investigation,” he stressed.

Duterte ordered the relief of the three police generals and for them to report directly to De la Rosa before being placed under investigation of the National Police Commission.

As to the two who have retired from the service, Dela Rosa said they would be treated as civilians and placed under investigation by the police.

De la Rosa said Duterte made the disclosure based on evidence.

“The President can have access to all intelligence and information being gathered here in the Philippines and abroad. He’s the President. His information did not come from a single agency. All government agencies have their own intelligence gathering methods and the President has all the access to those information,” De la Rosa explained.

When asked if those agencies included the  US-DEA, De la Rosa said if there would be information coming from foreign sources, the President would also accept it.

“We’ve been sharing intelligence information with (our) counterparts, so if there was information we will accept it,” Dela Rosa said.

Recycling

On the issue of policemen suspected of recycling illegal drugs, De la Rosa said he had some of them reassigned to remote areas in Mindanao in the attempt to put them to better use.

In two separate orders, De la Rosa relieved 32 policemen from the NCRPO and sent them to CARAGA, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Western Mindanao.

The orders have the name of a superintendent, a chief inspector, two senior inspectors, three inspectors and the rest non-commissioned police officers.

De la Rosa said he has a list of policemen involved in criminal activities, as he vowed to prioritize internal cleansing in the police organization.

When Dela Rosa took over the PNP leadership last week, he called on the policemen involved in illegal drugs, particularly on the group tagged “Ninja,” to surrender within 48 hours.

The deadline lapsed with no one coming forward, prompting Dela Rosa to warn the police officers that they would be transferred to far-flung areas in Mindanao.

Dela Rosa also said he does not want to hear the term “ninja,” saying it causes his blood pressure to shoot up.

“They cause all the troubles we are now facing. I hate to hear that term. I am sorry but whenever I hear the word ninja, I get angry,” he remarked to reporters.

The so-called ninja cops are a group of policemen who recycle and sell drugs seized in police operations.

Name more names

Lawmakers, on the other hand, urged Duterte to reveal more, not confining the list to police generals.

“President Duterte should name more personalities, even government officials who are linked to the illegal drug trade and other crimes. They should all be given a day in court and justice should be served,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.

“Hopefully this is the start of a serious cleansing in the ranks of law enforcement agencies, the police especially, to rid themselves of scalawags and criminals,” he said.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles branded Duterte’s revelations as one of the pillars of the Freedom of Information bill that the new administration will be espousing.

“That’s FOI. President Duterte just delivered on his promise to name the generals after he gave the opportunity to surrender. And this is related to the government’s policy of transparency,” Nograles said.

“President Duterte made this clear even during the campaign period, that he has enough information about generals who are involved in this drug trade. It is now up to him on what to do with the sensitive intelligence information that have been verified,” he said.

Nograles said the “narco generals” list will not end there.

“From the generals down the line, I think the President will name more names in his list,” Nograles said. – With Delon Porcalla

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