Fired over drugs? PNP says Bacolod ex-police chief not in drug list
MANILA, Philippines – Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, the Bacolod City police chief who was fired after President Rodrigo Duterte accused him of involvement in illegal drugs, is neither in the police's drug watchlist nor in the President's.
This was announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde in a Camp Crame press briefing on Monday, January 14.
"Is he or they in the watchlist of the PNP?" a reporter asked. The President had accused Ebreo of "enabling" the proliferation of the drug trade in the city.
"As far as I am concerned, wala (he is not there)," Albayalde said.
The reporter then asked whether Ebreo was in the President's own watchlist, which is prepared by his office with the help of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the PNP.
"Wala rin (He's not there too)," Albayalde said.
Three seconds passed before Albayalde made a U-turn, saying, "Probably, yes."
Asked how the President was able to get information on Ebreo without the police knowing, Albayalde said Duterte has his own sources that they cannot question.
Usually, the PNP uses its young "internal cleansing" unit, the Counterintelligence Task Force, to monitor suspicious cops before any action is taken against them. In a recent case, Duterte publicized a drug matrix implicating active policemen before the PNP sacked them.
The PNP also sacks underperforming cops in their so-called drug war, using the amount of illegal drugs seized and suspects arrested as criteria. (READ: PNP sacking spree: 13 Ilocos police chiefs fired for underperforming)
In Ebreo's case, Duterte just verbally linked him to illegal drugs. The President's statement, Albayalde said, was enough to sack the Bacolod City police chief.
But the top cop downplayed Ebreo's removal, saying that the ex-police chief and his men will be investigated thoroughly and fairly as they report to their regional holding unit.
"The relief order came in [on] the same day. That is his (Duterte's) decision, so we cannot probably question his directive," Albayalde said. – Rappler.com
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