PNP chief to top cops linked to drugs: ‘Face the music’

Bea Cupin
PNP chief to top cops linked to drugs: ‘Face the music’
(UPDATED PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa says the 3 active police generals assured him of their '100% cooperation' in the investigation into their alleged drug links

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday, July 6, gave this advice to 3 police generals being investigated for alleged involvement in the drug trade: “Face the music.”

This was among the few details the PNP chief revealed to the media after meeting with 3 of the 5 police generals allegedly linked to illegal drugs who were identified by President Rodrigo Duterte the day before.

“My advice to them is to face the music,” Dela Rosa said, responding to questions.

He gave this advice to former National Capital Region Police Office director Police Director Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City Police District Office director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, and former Region 6 police chief Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz.

Dela Rosa said they assured him of their “100% cooperation” in the investigation on their alleged drug links.

Asked how he felt about his “upperclassmen” and their current predicament, Dela Rosa turned emotional. “I want to cry with them,” the 4-star police general said, his voice slightly cracking.  

On the mood of the police officers, the PNP chief said, “Malungkot sila (They’re sad).”

He said the meeting ended with his personal assurance to his upperclassmen at the Philippine Military Academy. “I gave them the assurance that kahit na upper class ko sila (even if they are my upperclassmen), I am their father right now. As their father, I have to look after their welfare. Kung may kasalanan silang nagawa (If they did something wrong), they have to face the music.”

Asked about the long-term effect of Duterte’s revelation, and the investigation of the police officers, the PNP chief said it has a huge impact as it showed that “there are no sacred cows” under the Duterte administration.

On the part of the Philippine National Police, Dela Rosa said that “morale is very high” and that the police force is treating the recent development as a “passing turmoil” that will lead to the improvement of the organization.

Dela Rosa has referred the 3 to the National Police Commission (Napolcom), which will have jurisdiction as the investigation is underway. They will still, however, report to the office of the PNP chief since they do not hold any positions in the police force. 

Speaking to media, PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said that the Internal Affairs Service (IAS), an office within the police force, can also opt to launch their own probe. 

The two others named by Duterte – former Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr and Vic Loot, who is now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu – are already retired. Dela Rosa said he was willing to “entertain” the two as well. 

Dela Rosa said he had an “intimate” discussion with the 3 active police officers in his office in Camp Crame, but declined to bare details as these involved “personal matters.”

Diaz arrived first and met with Dela Rosa at the White House, or his official residence, earlier in the morning. Pagdilao and Tinio arrived later in the morning and officially met with Dela Rosa at around 11:50 am, according to Carlos. 

The 3 generals opted not to speak to media after their meeting with the PNP chief.

Meanwhile, Malacañang declined to divulge the evidence that the President used as basis to identify the police generals as involved in illegal drugs.

Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a text message to reporters that doing so would violate the officers’ “constitutional right to due process.”

“The evidence (documentary or testimonial) against the named generals should not be released yet as it may prejudice the administrative and criminal investigation/s and case/s against them. A premature release through the media may also violate the constitutional right to due process of those involved,” Andanar said. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.