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ROUGH CUTS | Mixed reactions from the Generals and Colonels

IN our column yesterday, we harped on the ambiguity of the call of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ben Hur Abalos, Jr. to the officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) with ranks of Colonel and General to submit their courtesy resignation to give way to the cleansing of the organization.

     Abalos’s call is some kind of a strong manifestation of the Secretary’s effort to rid the PNP of members who have been suspected of involvement in the illegal drugs trade that has been pestering Philippine society.  The problem of policemen involved in the drug trade either as direct participants in the operation of syndicates or as protectors has been known to have existed from one administration to another.

     When the Duterte administration was hot on the heels of the drug traders to the point that a number of Police Officers, including generals and colonels, were named and being hotly run after, the targets simply sought refuge from existing Philippine laws that guarantee their human rights. With their allies in the international community, the prosecution of those involved got impaired allowing those concerned officers to have the last laugh.

     With all these hindrances couched by the country’s human rights law, the campaign by the previous administration to eradicate illegal drugs in the country and flush out the law enforcers who were into it ended a flop.

     And if we have to go by the call of Abalos, Jr. for the colonels and generals to submit their courtesy resignation then we can only assume that the illegal drug traders aided by their police protectors and direct trade participants are back with a vengeance.

     Perhaps the DILG secretary realizes the futility of running after the scalawags in the organization that is directly under his agency’s supervision he has to resort to what to him could be the easier way of doing away with these scum bugs. That is, have them submit their resignation and let a 5-man body look into their personal record in the service; retain the deserving and accept the resignation of those validated of their criminal activity.

     In succeeding pronouncements Abalos clarified that those who submit their courtesy resignation are considered retired from the police service. Thus they are entitled to retirement benefits and other gratuities. That is on the premise that they are found clean. But those found to have indeed abetted the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade will have to be prosecuted. And only after they are cleared can they avail of the retirement benefits.


     With this development on the Abalos call we tried – and succeeded – to reach out to some friends and relatives in the police organization who have attained either the colonel or general ranks to seek out their reaction. We were able to contact a number of them but they refused to give their take on the issue.

     But we were lucky. A friend who happens to be a son of a former high school classmate shared with us the sentiment of many Generals and Colonels.

     He told us that the call by the DILG chief gets mixed reactions from those who belong to the rank levels. Mostly, according to this officer, are hesitating to tender their courtesy resignation. But according to him, many followed when the PNP chief submitted his. And he is one of them. Those who tendered their courtesy resignation, our contact in the PNP said, their action is “to clear once and for all that most of the PNP officers are not involved in the drug trade and to show their support to the efforts of the organization to weed out those involved in the illegal activities.

     But according to him many of the officers are apprehensive that the move might destroy the career of many policemen because of accusations that may not be proven. In fact, he cited several cases of policemen, top officials included, who were accused of crimes but have not been convicted because of lack of evidence or because witnesses refused to testify. And sadly they remain in the service and manage to retire with all the benefits given. And their cases even underwent court processes.

     Thus, according to this official, the Abalos’ mandate could either lead to termination from service of those who deserve to be terminated or ousted because of the infraction; or to the wrongful punishment of officers who are not supposed to be punished and instead retained in the force.

     This fate of the Colonels and Generals depends on how impartial the members of the 5-man body will review the records of the Generals and Colonels.

     If any one of the five or all of them becomes subservient to some vested interests then that would be the end of the intention of the DILG Secretary’s call for submission of courtesy resignation. Of course, our insider source said that many of the officers who asked to resign believed that they have nothing to fear. Meaning, they are not involved.

     And should the succeeding review prove to be impartial they are optimistic that the PNP can start with a clean slate over again.

     We wish the officer who shared the mixed sentiments is right in his expectation of the 5-man body. If not then a tainted police organization will continue to rein the police force.


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