PNP allows general in Duterte drug list to retire early with benefits

PNP chief General Archie Gamboa gives cops on the Duterte drug list the chance to retire early before being investigated for administrative and criminal cases

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has allowed a one-star general in the controversial drug list of President Rodrigo Duterte to retire early and avail of benefits.

This was announced by top cop General Archie Gamboa in an interview with CNN Philippines on Wednesday, February 13, saying that 15 among the 357 cops in President Duterte's drug list have decided to retire early after being given the chance to do so by Gamboa.

"I told them this is a final option for you, because once we send you to the validation committee, anything that’s going to happen in the process hindi 'nyo na ako masisisi (you can't blame me anymore). Pinagbigyan ko eh (I already gave you a chance)," Gamboa said.

Gamboa was referring to his meeting on Friday, February 7, in Camp Crame, with cops on the Duterte drug list when he announced they can retire early and cut themselves from the police organization. One of the cops present in the meeting and included in the President's drug list is drug war poster boy, Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido.

Is PNP letting them get away? By availing of optional retirement, the cops are evading any possibilty of facing administrative charges. Administrative charges may lead to suspension, dismissal, and even the revocation of benefits.

The cops who would retire early could collect their benefits with no sanctions as the PNP has not filed or even begun investigating for administrative charges. The mandatory age of retirement for the PNP is 56, but cops can avail of early retirement as approved by the National Police Commission.

Gamboa insisted, however, that despite allowing them to retire, the police will still pursue criminal charges if ever they gather enough proof. The Duterte administration has listed hundreds of names in its drug lists but have not been able to file criminal complaints against all the names they have included.

"When you retire, it doesn't mean to say you're guilty, but you're not yet off the hook," Gamboa said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.