PNP chief to probe generals linked to drug trade

Pia Ranada
PNP chief to probe generals linked to drug trade
'I have a heavy heart receiving this information but I have a job to do,' says PNP Director General Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa after President Duterte announces names of policemen supposedly helping drug syndicates

PAMPANGA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa will investigate the 5 police generals who President Rodrigo Duterte accuses of involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“Since they are already identified by the President, we have to conduct investigation on them. As for the retired, we will pursue a case against them if we are able to gather enough evidence,” said Dela Rosa.

He spoke to media right after Duterte’s speech at the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force on Wednesday, July 5 in Clark Airbase, Pampanga.

The 5 linked by the President to drugs are retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr, former National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City Police District Office director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, former Region 11 police chief Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz, and Vic Loot, who is now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu.

The generals denied the President’s allegations. (READ: Generals to Duterte: We’re not involved in illegal drugs)

As PNP chief, Dela Rosa said he accepts Duterte’s instruction with a “heavy heart.” 

“I have a heavy heart receiving this information but I have a job to do. I am the chief PNP so I have to do my job…As much as I don’t want to hurt my upperclasssmen, I have a duty to perform to the Filipino people,” he said.

Of the 5, three are still on active duty: Pagdilao, Tinio, and Diaz. Dela Rosa said they have been relieved of duty since July 1. They await investigation in Camp Crame. 

Dela Rosa is now waiting for the 3 to report to him, as instructed by Duterte in his speech. Being active police officers, they will be held “administratively liable” if they do not do as told.

Hintayin ko kung kailan sila magreport. Kung ayaw nila sumunod sa order ng presidente, ‘yung mga active, they will be liable administratively,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

(I will wait for them to report. If they don’t follow the order of the president, they will be liable administratively.)

Ties with Roxas

Pagdilao and Diaz are 1984 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy, the class that has as one of its “adopted” mistahs (classmates) defeated presidential candidate and former interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Garbo, on the other hand, was once considered for PNP chief when Roxas was interior secretary. Garbo was even endorsed to the position by former Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Diaz was among the police generals seen in a hotel at the height of the May elections campaign, the same hotel where Roxas’ campaign staff were also seen meeting. Diaz was at the time police chief of Western Visayas, a bailiwick of Roxas.

Dela Rosa said the involved policemen can “report to me anytime of the day.” He also gave assurances that he would “hear their side.”

As for the two who are retired, Garbo and Loot, Dela Rosa said he cannot compel them to report because they are not under his jurisdiction. But with enough evidence, they can be tried in court as civilian offenders. 

“‘Yung mga retired, they will be treated as plain civilian offenders. They will go through the usual process. Kailangan mo ng ebidensiya, kung mayroon, file-an mo ng case,” said Dela Rosa.

(As for the retired, they will be treated as plain civilian offenders. They will go through the usual process. You need evidence. If you have it, file a case.)

‘Did not expect’ announcement

Apparently, even Dela Rosa was not expecting the president’s explosive announcement.

“No, I did not expect that. I am just hoping na siya ang magdivulge. (I was just hoping he would be the one to divulge.),” he said. 

Dela Rosa can’t say for certain if Duterte will be announcing more names soon. 

In fact, he said he wishes there would be no more lists. 

Huwag naman sana. Kawawa na kami kung masyadong maraming pangalan. But as I said we are very transparent. Ilalabas namin kung may magcrop up na pangalan,” he said.

(I hope not. The police force will be pitiful if there are too many names. but as I said, we are very transparent. We will divulge whatever name crops up.)

Duterte had said even before his oath-taking as president that he would publicly name police generals involved in the drug trade.

Dela Rosa did not clearly explain if he helped put the list of names together, telling reporters, “Galing kay presidente lahat ‘yan.” (That’s all from the president.)

But in the days leading to his assumption of command as PNP chief, he had already been warning policemen to come clean or face consequences. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at