By Jelly F. Musico and Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan
MANILA, July 5 (PNA) – Living up to his promise to crack down police officials involved in illegal drug trade, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday publicly named the five Philippine National Police (PNP) officials suspected to be involved in illegal drugs and ordered them relieved from the posts.
President Duterte made the announcement at the 69th Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the Clark Airbase in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
The five PNP officials include former PNP deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr. whom Duterte said was a “protector of drug syndicate in this country.”
President Duterte also identified police generals Vicente Loot who is the newly-elected mayor of Daangbantayan town in Cebu province.
”He (Loot) is a narco politics,” Duterte said.
The President also named Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, former regional director of Region 11; former National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Police Director Joel Pagdilao; and former Quezon City Police Director Edgardo Tinio;
”As this time, I ordered them relieved from their assignments and report to the Director General. I would like to talk to them,” President Duterte said.
”I am compelled by my sense of duty to tell everything specially the police involved in the illegal drugs one way or the other who are contributing to the deterioration of law and order of this country,” he said.
The President also expects the National Police Commission (Napolcom) “to do their thing.”
”Investigate this and do not give me zarzuela. Find the truth because overnight I was really trying to figure out. I do not necessarily humiliate people. It is not my practice. I’m a politician,” President Duterte said.
”I said, I have the sacred obligation to the Filipino people by my oath office. I have to tell you the truth and the truth for the moment, these people, after so many validation, even I was still mayor of Davao City, their names have come out already with the intensification of criminal syndicates and drug distribution, marami nang namamatay at marami pang mamatay,” he added.
He warned the police and the officials not to join the illegal activities “because you will place yourself in the line of fire.”
”I have been warning everybody: At the end of my speeches, when I was campaigning for the presidency, I always end it by saying “Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Do not destroy the young people of this country because I will kill you. Kapag hindi pa naman sapat sa lahat ‘yan ay ewan ko, what else,” President Duterte said.
President Duterte warned that he will also clean all the government department, agencies and offices of the illegal drugs and corruption, particularly the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa was present when Duterte announced the police generals who are allegedly protecting the drug syndicates.
”The campaign against drugs will continue, hopefully in the fullness of God’s time. I may not be able to really clean it three or six months but by that time perhaps, medyo tapos na,” he said.
President Duterte thanked former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for raising the level of drug problem as national security threat.
”Therefore, paving the way for me to ask the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help me in the campaign. It’s going to be a dirty fight, it’s going to be a bloody fight. I’m not apologizing for it,” Duterte said.
The President also told the law enforcers to shoot first “when you think your life is in danger.”
”Hindi ako uurong dito. And I said, I would stake my honor, my life, and even the presidency. Kaya kung bitawan yan. I don’t have any illusion about being their all the time or hanging on the presidency. Nandito na rin ako, gagawin ko na rin gagawin ko,” President Duterte said.
President Duterte vowed to continue his fight also against criminality, corruption, kidnapping and other illegal activities.
”The criminals have hijacked, have taken over the public streets and place. Our children cannot go around already. We have to remove that fear. Let us transfer that fear in the heart of the criminals,” Duterte said.
”Corruption in the government must stop. It has to stop. You place yourself in jeopardy of going into prison,” he added.
The President promised to arm the AFP with necessary equipment to improve their fighting capabilities.
Dela Rosa on Tuesday said that three of the five generals had been relieved from their post effective July 1.
Duterte said although he doesn’t want to humiliate people, he was compelled by a sense of duty to divulge their names.
According to Dela Rosa the President ordered the relieved of the active generals in their respective post and asked the Police National Commission (Napolcom) to conduct investigation.
He said that as PNP Chief, “I have a heavy heart receiving this information but I have to do my job.”
“Masakit man sa akin pero kailangan trabahuhin natin because in as much I do not want to hurt may upperclassmen I have a duty to perform before the Filipino people. we are accountable to the Filipino people,” he added.
For those active policemen, he said that they had instruction that they should report to his office and they would be liable administratively while for those retired cops they would be treated as civilian offenders and undergo the usual process.
“Kung ayaw nila sumunod sa order ng President yung mga active, they will be liable administratively. My instruction sa kanila na magreport. I presume and I am sure they will report to me. (For retired) they will be treated as civilian offenders retired naman sila so they will go to the usual process. Kailangan mo ng ebidensya kung meron you file the case,” Dela Rosa explained.
Record showed that Garbo is member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1981 who retired from service last March 2016 while Loot is a member of PMA Class 1982, Pagdilao is a member of PMA Class 1984; Tinio is member of PMA Class 1985; Diaz is member of PMA Class 1984 and was allegedly a protector of illegal drugs.
In an radio interview, General Diaz denied the allegation saying he will personally go to Camp Crame to report and clean his name.
Meanwhile, Tinio denied involvement in illegal drugs saying he was willing to submit himself to lie detector test.
The Philippines News Agency (PNA) tried to reach Pagdilao and the other generals but to no avail as of press time.
Get more stories like this in your inbox!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive regular updates.