MANILA, Philippines – The National Police Commission (Napolcom) on Wednesday, July 6, promised a quick investigation into the drug allegations hounding generals of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
In a news conference, Napolcom Vice Chairman Rogelio Casurao said President Rodrigo Duterte, who publicly named the generals allegedly linked to drugs, does not want a slow-paced probe.
“The President is very clear on this matter. Ayaw niya na (He doesn’t want that) the investigation will drag on because normally an investigation that drags on till eternity is always subject to suspicion that things are being fixed,” Casurao told reporters.
“A few minutes after his pronouncement [on Tuesday, July 5], we immediately constituted a team to investigate all these generals who were named.”
The Napolcom has jurisdiction over 3 of the 5 generals named by Duterte since they remain on active duty. These are former National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City Police District Office director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, and former Region 11 police chief Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz.
The two others – former Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr and Vic Loot, who is now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu – are already retired.
“We are assuring now the public that the investigation to be conducted by the Napolcom is going to be a [straightforward] investigation… In fact, the directive given to the investigation team is they should complete the investigation within 7 days, and then after that we will go into the summary dismissal proceedings.”
The entire process, including summary dismissal proceedings, should be completed within a month’s time, according to Casurao.
He added that the Napolcom team is now validating supposed evidence against the generals.
“There are already pieces of evidence that prompted the President to come up with that decision to name them in public. The task of the Napolcom now is validating these pieces of evidence for purposes of establishing probable cause,” Casurao said. “In addition to that, we will require them to submit their reply or answer.”
In separate interviews on Tuesday, the generals already denied involvement in the drug trade.
Tinio and Pagdilao both said they are ready to undergo lifestyle checks to prove their innocence, while Diaz said he abhors illegal drugs.
Garbo, meanwhile, said Duterte was fed with “wrong and poison information.”
Loot, for his part, dismissed the allegation and said he has long been a victim of black propaganda in Cebu.
Amid concerns that the generals would be subject to trial by publicity, Casurao said, “The full force of the law, in our mandate as a disciplinary body, will be applied, without of course sacrificing due process.” – Rappler.com