High-ranking police officials will undergo a lifestyle check as part of efforts to cleanse the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP), its chief, Police Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., said Tuesday.
In an interview on radio dzBB, Azurin said a lifestyle check is among the ways that the five-member panel responsible for reviewing the records of police generals and colonels who have been asked to submit their courtesy resignations.
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the only member of the five-person panel to be identified so far, also said a lifestyle check would be part of the screening process.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday that only 3 to 4 percent of 900 colonels and generals of the Philippine National Police are directly linked to illegal drugs.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said in a television interview that his source of the figure is from intelligence reports collated by the PNP.
“There are some intelligence reports, but we have to vet them very, very well. According to the chief PNP Rodolfo Azurin Jr. it’s about more or less, 3 to 4 percent of the top cops,” Abalos said.
National Capital Region Police Office director Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo said a total of 76 police colonels and other ranking officials assigned in Metro Manila have filed their courtesy resignations in compliance to Abalos’ request for them to do so as part of efforts to get rid of the “bad eggs” in the police force.
He said the NCRPO was “100 percent compliant” with Abalos’ call.
Estomo also said a total of 30 station commanders with the rank of Police Lieutenant Colonel conformed with his directive to undergo a drug test.
“If any of you test positive, you will be relieved immediately and I will file appropriate charges against you. If it’s negative, that’s very good for us,” he said.
Estomo said while the committee formed by Abalos is in the process of evaluating their submitted courtesy resignations, he will continue to conduct surprise drug tests on all his men.
“The conduct of this drug test to the station commanders of QCPD and MPD is to show their subordinates that their officers are not involved in illegal drug use,” he said.
Abalos on Monday said 60 percent or more than 500 PNP full colonels and generals submitted courtesy resignations less than a week after his appeal.
He said he is expecting more police generals and colonels to comply this week until the end of the month.
“There is no demoralization within the ranks of the PNP. In fact, they welcome this development because they, too, would like the police organization to be rid of misfits and scalawags,” Abalos said.
He said the courtesy resignations would not affect the delivery of services by the PNP.
He guaranteed that the probe will be independent and impartial as it would go through two rounds of review, one by the five-man advisory group led by Magalong before it would be given as a recommendation to the National Police Commission. He added that they aim to finish the investigation within three months.
Also on Tuesday, 21 third-level officers of the PNP in Eastern Visayas expressed support for the appeal made by Abalos.
“This is a great challenge for the uniformed service and an opportunity to speed up the internal cleansing process within our ranks. I believe that we will emerge as a stronger organization and will win back the trust and confidence of the people,” said Brig. Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil, police regional director, during a press conference at Camp Ruperto Kangleon in Palo, Leyte Tuesday.
“We do not condone involvement in any illegal drug activities among our ranks,” he added.
The 21 third-level officers are composed of two brigadier generals and 19 colonels.