310 ‘narco cops’ test negative for drug use

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 300 police officers included in President Duterte’s “narco” list have tested negative for illegal drug use, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced yesterday.

None of the urine samples submitted by 310 police officers who underwent a surprise drug test were found positive for using shabu and other prohibited drugs, PNP chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said.

“Those who were present during the drug test, negative lahat ang results,” Gamboa told reporters.

The police officers were included in the narco list for allegedly protecting drug rings and users of narcotics.

Gamboa said 47 police officers on the drug watchlist were absent when the tests were conducted at Camp Crame in Quezon City last week.

Forty-three lawmen have been marked AWOL or absent without official leave for snubbing the drug test.  

Gamboa did not go into details on the status of the other policemen who failed to undergo drug testing.

The police officers also underwent polygraph tests, but Gamboa did not reveal the results.

According to the PNP chief, a police official on the drug list was killed during a shooting, but he did not elaborate.

Fifteen policemen have opted to retire early from the service, Gamboa added.

The national adjudication board headed by PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan started its validation process for police officers on the drug list.

Gamboa gave the board one month to finish the validation and come up with recommendations.

“We will evaluate whether or not they should remain on the drug list,” he said.

Gamboa fires back at Leni

Gamboa hit back at Vice President Leni Robredo for alluding that the PNP is protecting police officers on the drug list.

On Sunday, Robredo said the people’s trust in the PNP may be eroded for covering up for policemen tainting the organization’s image.

“Her statement has no basis,” Gamboa said.

He stressed that the PNP would not have disclosed in public the adjudication process for police officers with suspected links to drugs if they were protecting them.

He also criticized Robredo for questioning the early retirement option offered to policemen.

Gamboa pointed out that the policemen on the narco list are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Among those on the narco list are two police generals and Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, who led an anti-drug operation in Ozamiz City in July 2017 that left 15 members and associates of the Parojinog family dead.

Espenido has been tagged as one of the “poster boys” of the Duterte administration’s drug war.

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