P59.8-M SAF allowance mess 'litmus test' for Albayalde – Año
MANILA, Philippines – The unreleased P59.8-million allowance of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) troopers will be a "litmus test" for the new PNP chief.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, whose agency oversees the PNP, made the statement on Thursday, April 19, before Oscar Albayalde took over the top PNP post.
"This should be his first priority and will serve as litmus test on how he will carry out the internal cleansing program within the police organization,” Año said. (READ: Fate of ex-SAF chief up to Albayalde now – Dela Rosa)
Año was referring to the funds withheld from SAF troopers even after they had been released. Former SAF chief Director Benjamin Lusad, former SAF budget and fiscal officer Senior Superintendent Andre Dizon, and two police sergeants from the SAF finance office had been relieved of their posts.
What Año wants: In investigating the funds mess, Año said he does not only expect people to be held accountable, he said said that the incident "should not happen again."
"He (Albayalde) is a former SAF commando and official so he knows the struggles of SAF and how they look forward to receiving additional benefits from the PNP," Año added.
The missing P59.8 million comes from unreleased field and hazard pay allowance of thousands of SAF troopers. A trooper is entitled to P30 per day, an amount that goes a long way for policemen assigned to usually unreachable places.
What's the latest on the issue? Lusad and his alleged accomplices have been relieved of their posts as the investigations of the Office of the Ombudsman and the PNP's budget office move forward.
Outgoing PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa announced on Tuesday, April 17, that Dizon returned P37 million to the PNP, presumably in relation to the missing P59.8 million. The next day, former PNP chief and Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chair Panfilo Lacson announced that the Senate will probe the incident.
Albayalde was set to assume the PNP's top post in turnover ceremonies late Thursday afternoon, April 19. – Rappler.com
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