Duterte has long list of officials linked to drugs

Bea Cupin
Duterte has long list of officials linked to drugs
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa says the President has more names on a list that has 'many pages'

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday, July 6, said the President has a long list of public officials linked to illegal drugs given his access to all sources of information.

Sa listahan ni Presidente, mukhang meron pa. I don’t want to preempt him by divulging this additional information. Hintayin niyo na lang kung meron siyang ilalabas. My observation is meron pa siyang sasabihin na additional na pangalan,” Dela Rosa told reporters after meeting with 3 police generals accused by the President of involvement in the illegal drugs trade. (Based on President Duterte’s list, there are more… just wait for him to release those names. My observation is that he will be naming more officials.) 

Pressed on how long the President’s list was, Dela Rosa said it contained “many pages.”

Dela Rosa said Duterte has “access to all the intel and info” gathered throughout the country and overseas. “He’s the President. ‘Yung kanyang info hindi lang galing PNP, ISAFP, NICA. Lahat ng govt agencies may kanya-kanyang intel departments. The President has all the access to those info,” he noted.  

The PNP chief on Wednesday morning met with former Metro Manila chief Police Director Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City district director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, and former Western Mindanao commander Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz, all active-duty police generals named by Duterte as protectors of the drug trade.

Dela Rosa turned emotional when asked about what transpired during the meeting.

“I want to cry with them,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

Duterte himself ordered the 3 generals relieved, and instructed them to report to Dela Rosa, who heads the 170,000-strong PNP. But even before Duterte’s speech, the 3 had been relieved of their positions as district and regional chiefs, as part of the PNP’s reorganization.

The 3 generals will be investigated by the National Police Commission, which Dela Rosa, as the PNP chief, belongs to. But they will still be reporting to the office of the PNP chief. 

“I gave them the assurance that kahit upperclass ko sila, I am their father right now. As their father, I have to look after their welfare. Kung meron man silang kasalanang nagawa, they have to face the music,” said Dela Rosa. (I gave them the assurance that even if they’re my upperclass, I am their father right now. As their father, I have to look for their welfare. [But] if they did something wrong, they have to face the music.) 

Dela Rosa belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1986. The 3 active generals Duterte named belong to more senior classes – Pagdilao and Diaz are from PMA Class of 1984, while Tinio is from the Class of 1985. 

Two other police generals named by Duterte have since retired from the service: Marcelo Garbo and Vicente Loot. Dela Rosa said he’s willing to talk to Garbo and Loot, even if they are no longer under the PNP’s jurisdiction. Garbo has said the President was fed “wrong” information.

Dela Rosa also downplayed speculation that Duterte’ unexpected announcement affected PNP morale.

Ito ay mga pagsubok lamang, dadaan dito, lilipas din ito. Itong mga turmoil na nangyari sa organisasyon, this is part of the paano mo pagandahin ang imahe ng inyong organisasyon. Part and parcel of the process yan. We’ll take it positively and high morale pa rin kami,” said Dela Rosa. 

(This is only a test for us. We will get over this, and this will pass. This turmoil is part of the process to improve the organization’s image. That’s part of the process. We’ll take it positively and we still have high morale.) – 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.