Lifestyle checks set for PNP

Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno ordered yesterday a sweeping lifestyle check on the entire police force following President Duterte’s statement that a number of police officials are on the take in illegal drug operations.

Sueno tasked Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa to proceed with the lifestyle check in the PNP, starting with the police generals.

“As public servants, we are expected to be exemplars of honesty, integrity and professionalism. So if the policemen or any other civil servant for that matter have acquired unexplained wealth while in active service, they have a lot of explaining to do,” he said.

Sueno took the cue from Duterte’s naming of five police generals as alleged protectors of illegal drug rings.

Among them is former PNP deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr.

Also named were Director Joel Pagdilao and Chief Superintendents Bernardo Diaz, Edgardo Tinio and Vicente Loot, who has retired and is the newly elected mayor of Daanbantayan town in Cebu.

The three in the active service have been relieved of their posts: Pagdilao as director of the National Capital Region Police Office, Diaz as director for Region VII and Tinio as director of the Quezon City Police District.

A number of police officials are said to be living beyond their means, with several houses and luxury vehicles and indulging in expensive vices.

The five generals have denied the accusations, saying Duterte could have been fed wrong or poisoned information.

Pagdilao, Tinio, Diaz and Loot have faced Sueno and other officials along with the National Police Commission (Napolcom), which is now conducting the investigation on their alleged links to the illegal drug trade.

Garbo, who has yet to come out, merely sent a statement denying his link to illegal drugs and that  he was not a protector of a certain Peter Co, a known drug lord operating in the country.

Sueno vowed he would keep an eye on the five who were named by Duterte as involved in the illegal drug trade.

Sueno said he has personally instructed Napolcom to look into the purported criminal activities of the five police generals.

“The Napolcom has already started its probe on the alleged links of these generals to the illegal drugs business. As soon as they wrap up the investigation, the report will be submitted to the Office of the President,” he said.

As for Loot, Sueno said he has also instructed lawyers of the DILG to gather evidence and build the case against the mayor.

“I have given instructions to gather as much evidence as they could to determine the culpability or innocence of the generals, and if the evidence warrants, to build a solid case against them,” he said.

Under the law, the DILG acts as the investigating arm of the Office of the President in cases involving elective local officials.

Insofar as elective local officials of municipalities and barangays are concerned, this falls under the jurisdiction of the Sanggunian (city or municipal council) or can be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman.

De la Rosa said at least 23 mayors are in the list of President Duterte, who may name them in the coming days.

“The President has the list of these local executives involved in illegal drugs. I can’t reveal their identities, only the President can make public their names,” he said.

De la Rosa said the DILG might also be asked by the President to take action against the local officials involved.

He dared the “narco mayors” to arm up and fight the government forces if they will not stop their involvement in illegal drug operations.

De la Rosa warned local officials involved in illegal drugs that they will not be spared in the police crackdown, and if arrested will be treated like ordinary criminals.

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