Rody: By any language, it’s treason
CLARK FIELD, Pampanga, Philippines – Saying public fear must be removed and transferred “to the hearts of criminals,” President Duterte yesterday named five police generals allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
In a speech at the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) held here, Duterte linked three police generals in the active service and two who have retired, one of them now a mayor, as either protectors or directly involved in illegal drug deals.
“By any language,” Duterte said, “it is really treason.”
Shelving his prepared speech, Duterte went on to name former Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr., whom he described as a “protector of drug syndicates.”
The President did not mention the first name of one particular Diaz, but it was gathered that Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz was relieved last week from his post in Region 7.
The other police chief superintendents are Vicente Loot, Edgardo Tinio and Joel Pagdilao.
Garbo retired in March while Loot is the newly elected mayor of Daangbantayan town in Cebu.
Tinio served as police director of Quezon City while Pagdilao was director of the National Capital Region Police Office.
Pagdilao and Tinio were among the top police officials affected by the major revamp initiated by PNP chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa.
Garbo is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1981, Loot belongs to PMA Class 1982, Tinio is a member of Class 1985 while Pagdilao and Diaz are classmates in Class 1984.
Duterte said he is pained that the generals were educated in the country’s premier military school funded by the people’s money, and yet they went wayward.
“And they had these careers of theirs. All along, we the people thought that we are being protected by the police,” he said.
Duterte ordered the immediate relief of the police generals who are still on active duty.
“As (of) this time, I order them relieved from their assignments and report to the (PNP) director general,” Duterte said.
“I would like to talk to them and certainly, I would expect the (PNP) to do their thing to investigate them, but do not give me a zarzuela (a show),” he said.
Duterte said he has validated the information about the police generals and their names kept cropping up, even while he was still the mayor of Davao City.
“I have reached this position and I have the sacred duty to tell you the truth, after so many validations. Even when I was mayor, these names had been coming out,” Duterte said.
Dela Rosa said he was surprised by the President’s announcement, but he believed Duterte had basis in revealing the names of the “narco generals.”
“The President has access to intelligence information, even when he was still mayor of Davao,” he said.
Dela Rosa noted the order of the President to report to him the results of the investigation on the five and that those who have retired would be charged in court as civilians.
Meanwhile, De la Rosa also ordered 32 policemen sent to Mindanao as part of the campaign against illegal drugs in the police force.
Duterte said he was compelled to reveal the names of the “narco generals” in using the occasion. “Law and order of the country has become a serious problem for all of us. It has deteriorated, with the advent of drugs because of corrosive effect of money,” the President said at the start of his speech.
“I’m very sad but on the drug scene, we all long suspected there are many policemen involved in illegal drugs. I’m not ready yet with other branches of government, agencies like Customs, I still have to validate but I already have raw info,” he said.
Duterte said he had forewarned those involved in illegal drugs all throughout the campaign, reiterating that he will not hesitate to kill all those involved.
“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.’ If these warnings were not enough, I don’t know what will happen next,” he said.
Duterte stressed the drug menace has affected national security and called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to join the fight against illegal drugs.
“Let me be very, very clear. I have called upon the AFP to help,” Duterte said.
He said he was fortunate to have been empowered by the executive order of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo raising the level of the drug menace to a national security threat.
This, he said, would entitle him to use the AFP in the fight against illegal drugs.
“I assume full legal responsibility,” he stressed. At the same time, Duterte clarified his earlier order for civilians to “shoot to kill” drug offenders.
“When I say shoot to kill, it’s when you are there and there is a fight that will result in your demise. Shoot first, but only if you think your life is in danger,” he clarified.
“When I say there is reward (for neutralizing drug dealers) dead or alive, there are laws to be observed before you do it. I just want you to be brave, not to be afraid to do your work,” the President said.
Lawmakers lauded Duterte’s move to name the police generals involved in illegal drugs.
“Wow! Great job by the President,” Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said in a text message to reporters.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III said Duterte must have “A-1” intelligence to be able to name names.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, said he believes at least two of the officials were involved in drugs based on information he obtained from his former subordinates in the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force.
“All I can say is the commander-in-chief, more than anybody in this country, is in the best position to have access to all these vital and sensitive information and I have no reason to doubt or question its validity,” he said.
Sen. Gregorio Honasan said the administration must make sure that its information is correct.
“Names are immaterial. We must make sure that due process and rule of law is followed. They must not be subjected to trial by publicity while there is no final verdict, for the sake of their families and children who have nothing to do with this,” he said.
As for the PNP, it is tracking down the policemen involved in “recycling” seized illegal drugs.
Senior Supt. Albert Ignatius Ferro, chief of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs (AIDG), said the “ninja” policemen involved in recycling drugs would be the focus of their operations.
Ferro lamented some of the ninja cops have been arrested but managed to get out of jail.
“Ninja is one of our priority, it seems they will not surrender so we will get them one by one. We already know them. I was the team leader when we conducted police operations on agaw bato,” Ferro said, referring to seized drugs.
“We are warning you, your days are numbered. We will come and get you,” Ferro warned.
Sources revealed there are about 13 policemen involved in recycling, mostly from the middle ranks.
Ferro had filed charges against the 13 policemen for allegedly misappropriating and failing to account for the illegal drugs they seized during a police operation on Nov. 29, 2013.
Ferro said he was transferred to another assignment and lost track of the cases.
Duterte had ordered the PNP to stop the practice of recycling seized drugs.
On cue, De la Rosa gave the ninja cops and other scalawag policemen 48 hours to surrender or become full-time drug lords and fight it out with lawmen. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jaime Laude, Paolo Romero, Artemio Dumlao, Rey Galupo, Robertzon Ramirez
Tags: Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, De la Rosa, Dela Rosa, Do not destroy my country because I will kill you, Duterte, Edgardo Tinio, illegal drugs, Joel Pagdilao, law and order, Marcelo Garbo Jr., narco generals, Philippine National Police, Philippines, PNP, police generals allegedly involved in illegal drugs, policemen involved in “recycling” seized illegal drugs, protector of drug syndicates, reiterating that he will not hesitate to kill all those involved, Vicente Loot