war on drugs

PNP majors, lieutenant colonels worry they’re next to be asked to quit

Cong Corrales
PNP majors, lieutenant colonels worry they’re next to be asked to quit

PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. speaks during a press conference on the proposal of Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos for the resignation of generals and colonels in order to cleanse the ranks of links to illegal drugs, at Camp Crame on January 5, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

'Careers are at stake here, but in the name of cooperation and support to the PNP program, we will have to comply,' says the deputy director of the PNP Highway Patrol Group in the Davao Region

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Subordinates of police generals and colonels who tendered their courtesy resignations worry they would be the next ones to be told to offer to quit the service, saying what’s at stake are their career and future.

Highway Patrol Group-Davao Region Deputy Director Surki Sereñas said police majors and lieutenant colonels like him were facing a similar situation.

He said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. already spoke during a command conference about requiring majors and lieutenant colonels to submit their courtesy resignations after the generals and full-fledged colonels were done with theirs.

“We will have to follow…. When the chief makes a pronouncement, that is policy…. Careers are at stake here, but in the name of cooperation and support to the PNP program, we will have to comply,” Sereñas said.

Many police generals and colonels have tendered their courtesy resignation to heed the call of Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, who has alleged that some were involved in the illegal drug trade. The courtesy resignations would help in the government’s efforts to purge the PNP, he said.

Police-Northern Mindanao Director Brigadier General Lawrence Coop, who offered to resign along with another brigadier general and 19 colonels on Monday, January 9, admitted that their collective decision was not easy for some of the officials because of the uncertainty it created.

Coop told reporters, “There are different takes like, what if one’s courtesy resignation is accepted? We know that our work is our bread and butter.”

But Coop said they accepted the challenge because they were confident about their records, and decided to trust that a committee of evaluators would be fair.

Sereñas, who served as a deputy police director in Northern Mindanao before he was assigned to the Davao Region, said many PNP officials were apprehensive because of the stigma that would come with the acceptance of resignation even when they are innocent.

“If one’s resignation is accepted, it is presumed that he is involved in illegal drugs,” Sereñas said.

A police official from Cagayan de Oro, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the call for courtesy resignations was seen by many in the PNP as a form of political control.

“It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation,” the source told Rappler.

He added, “Actually, the organization has identified those who are involved in illegal drugs…. This is a shotgun approach so that no one would be singled out.” – Rappler.com

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