Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. on Wednesday called for the courtesy resignation of police colonels and generals as part of the government’s efforts to cleanse the ranks and get rid of “bad eggs” within the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The PNP said it would comply with the request.
At a press conference in police headquarters in Camp Crame, Abalos said he will create a special five-person team to investigate police officials involved in illegal drug trade.
Abalos made the call amid reports of the return of so-called “ninja cops” in the police force.
A ninja cop is a police officer involved in a money-making scheme through the resale of confiscated illegal drugs.
“I am appealing to our full colonels and generals in the PNP to submit a courtesy resignation because this is the only way that we can quickly cleanse the ranks of the PNP,” Abalos said.
He said there are about 300 full colonels and generals in the police force including PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr.
“If you’re not doing anything bad, there’s nothing to worry about. Just keep working. We just want to start fresh with a clean slate,” he added.
It is not the first time such drastic measures have been used to clean up the police force.
Former president Fidel Ramos cracked down on police in the early 1990s, ordering all officers over 56 years of age or with more than 30 years of service to resign. The chief of the national police and nine other senior officers resigned as a result.
Abalos said there is a need to take a radical approach versus illegal drugs by cleansing the PNP because it is unfair to the majority of the police officers who are putting their lives on the line everyday to combat illegal drugs while some of their bosses in the organization are behind the illegal drug trade.
“Many policemen risk their own lives to suppress illegal drugs, but their boss is their enemy. It is very unfair to the majority of our police force who work honestly,” he said.
“Please be with me in this fight. This fight is not for us, but for our children, our country, and for the future,” he added.
In October last year, anti-narcotics agents seized more than 900 kilos of shabu worth about P6.7 billion in Tondo, Manila from a suspected drug pusher, which also resulted in the arrest of a police officer.
The police officer was identified as Ney Saligumba Atadero, 50.
Atadero later told investigators that more illegal drugs were stored at a lending company office in Sta. Cruz, also in Manila.
The team came up with a follow up operation and discovered that another police officer assigned to the PNP Drug Enforcement Group’s Special Operations Unit in the National Capital Region was also involved.
Last month in Taguig City, the chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency – Southern District Office (PDEA-SDO) and two PDEA agents were also arrested in a buy-bust operation.
The suspects — PDEA-SDO chief Enrique Lucero and agents Anthony Vic Alabastro and Jaireh Llaguno — were allegedly involved in selling drugs.
Southern Police District director Brig. Gen. Kirby Kraft said Lucero and his men along with driver Mark Warren Mallo were arrested at their office located at Bonifacio Street in Barangay Upper Bicutan.
In a statement, the PNP said: “We in the PNP will follow and comply with whatever our political leaders will decide upon.. because we know that all these decisions are for the good of our organization and our country.”