MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives yesterday vowed to resume its inquiry into nine police generals earlier linked to illegal drug activities by President Duterte, and who remain at large.
“I think it’s plausible to have this issue investigated by Congress since from what I’ve heard, none of them had been investigated or charged in court,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said.
Barbers, chair of the House committee on dangerous drugs, issued the statement in response to Duterte’s call to have these suspects investigated and held accountable during his State of the Nation Address on Monday.
Barbers said this is the main reason or purpose of his latest proposal, House Bill 7814, which aims to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1992 (RA 9165) and equip law enforcers in going after major drug lords, including coddlers, protectors and financiers.
HB 7814, which was passed on third and final reading during the 18th Congress, has yet to gain traction and is awaiting support from senators to become a law.
In October 2017, Duterte dismissed two ranking police officials – Chief Superintendents Joel Pagdilao, then chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, and Edgardo Tinio, Quezon City police chief – he accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Pagdilao and Tinio were among five active and retired PNP officials that Duterte publicly accused of drug involvement in July 2016.
The others were Chief Superintendents Bernardo Diaz and Vicente Loot, who became mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, and retired PNP deputy chief for administration Marcelo Garbo.
In February, Duterte said there were only about four so-called “ninja cops” and generals in the police force.
He promised that these generals and “ninja cops” would end up dead because of their sins as he accused them of recycling or re-selling drugs seized during law enforcement operations.
“My sworn duty is not to protect the people who are into drugs. My sworn duty is to protect the people and preserve the Philippines,” he said. “They have runners, the generals and ninja cops but they are still around, and have been reduced to four and they will all die.”
Duterte said he was ready to shoot the rogue policemen even if he is no longer in power.
“I would shoot them if I see them, whether President or ordinary man. If I see them and I know they are angry with me because of drugs, we will really end up shooting each other.”
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also vowed to conduct a similar investigation against the nine police generals.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the PNP would be looking into the matter and he ordered that the nine be identified.
“We will investigate this matter thoroughly. We will identify these high-ranking officials of the PNP tagged in illegal drugs. I would like to reiterate that there is no place in the organization for corrupt cops, especially those involved in illegal drugs,” Eleazar said yesterday.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the nine generals have all been removed from service and investigated.
“When the President announced that, if I’m not mistaken, it happened in 2016 and those generals have been removed from office, position and underwent investigation,” Año said.