Key PNP officers get cash gift from Duterte

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be having a happy holiday season – at least financially – in 2016, after President Rodrigo Duterte released "cash gifts" ranging from P50,000 to P400,000.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa made the announcement on Monday, December 19, during the PNP National Headquarters Christmas party. Senior officials – from directorate chiefs, deputies, executive officers, regional directors, and even provincial directors will be beneficiaries of the cash gift which came from no less than Malacañang.

Those with "star ranks" or with ranks ranging from chief superintendent (one-star) to director general (four-star) will get between P100,000 and P400,000. Senior officials are those with the rank senior superintendent (equivalent to a full colonel in the military) and higher.

Speaking before a crowd of PNP personnel and their families, Dela Rosa joked that he decided to make the announcement public so that the money would go to their wives and not their second wives.

"Lahat po kayo, after this just proceed to my office at kunin 'nyo 'yung pamasko na bigay ni President Duterte (All of you, after this program just proceed to my office to get the gift from President Duterte)," he said. 

In a chance interview with media after the program, Dela Rosa said not everyone in the PNP will receive a cash gift, even if Duterte would have wanted it that way.

"But that's enough for us because first time 'yang nangyari sa PNP na meron talaga cash gift na nanggagaling sa Malacañang (for the first time in the PNP, we're getting a cash gift from Malacañang)," he said.

The amount the key officers will get depends on their current positions and their performance.

In his speech, Dela Rosa explained that Duterte gave the cash gifts because "that's how much he supports the PNP. Love na love niya yung PNP kaya lahat tayo happy (He loves the PNP so we're all happy)."

The PNP has been the primary government agency in Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs. Although it's the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that's tasked by law to be the lead in anti-narcostics efforts, it's the police who've racked up the most arrests, operations, and kills in the drugs war. 

Asked where the funds came from, Dela Rosa playfully chided reporters and said: "'Wag na kayong magtanong sa'n galing. Basta 'di 'yan galing sa drugs. Galing 'yan, siguro, sa intelligence fund ng Presidente."

(Don't ask where it comes from. But I tell you, it's not from drugs. I suppose it comes from the President's intelligence funds.)

There are 18 regional offices in the PNP, which supervise the country's 81 provinces. At the PNP headquarters, there are at least 12 directorates and 23 operational and administrative support units.

Dela Rosa also defended the PNP and Duterte from early criticism of the cash gift. Transparency, he said, was why he made a public announcement.

The PNP chief also chided critics for criticizing the cash gift now when in the past, nobody reacted to apparent cases of PNP officials pocketing funds. –