The issue of the nine ranking police officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, as raised by President Rodrigo Duterte in his last State of the Nation Address, has already been addressed, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday.
Año said these officials are already out of the service with some facing criminal charges in court.
“The Philippine National Police has long addressed the issue of police generals involved in the illegal drugs trade, all of them are out of the service, and some are even facing charges at court,” he added.
The DILG chief added that these police officials were dismissed from the service as early as 2016 and investigated for their drug connections.
Meanwhile, acceding to the order of President Duterte, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said he would inquire with the Philippine National Police on the case of a police colonel tagged with illegally importing AK-47 rifles.
While he believed that charges had already been filed in the Sandiganbayan against the colonel, Dela Rosa said he will check on the case.
The senator served as Duterte’s first PNP chief before being elected in 2019.
The current PNP Chief, General Guillermo Eleazar, ordered a thorough investigation into the President’s revelation.
Eleazar assured the President the issue will be seriously looked into, as he reiterated that rogue cops have no place in the police organization. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Año also said administrative and criminal charges have been filed against some local government officials for their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
“The situation is different now. In the past, people were scared of drug lords and politicians connected to drug lords. It’s the other way around now as they are ones who are scared and are hiding from us,” he added.
Duterte on Monday admitted he was upset upon learning that many government officials were involved in the illegal drug trade, including the police generals.
Asked on Duterte’s remarks about a police official allegedly behind the importation of the high-powered Russian-made AK-47 automatic rifles in the country, Año said he and his civilian accomplice have already been investigated by the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice.
“There was a civilian involved in that case, a certain Mr. Isidro Lozada, he was the alleged owner of the security agency that brought 1,000 units of AK-47s. The police official whom he mentioned is former Lt. Col. Eduardo Acierto,” he added.
“Iimbestigahan nating mabuti ang bagay na ito. Aalamin at tutukuyin natin ang matataas na opisyal sa PNP na sinasabing sangkot sa iligal na droga,” Eleazar added.
“Uulitin ko, walang puwang ang organisasyon para sa mga tiwaling pulis, lalo na ang sangkot sa iligal na droga,” he said.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert "Ace" Barbers already said he would push for a congressional inquiry of the case of the nine police generals.
Duterte made the call for a congressional probe as he noted the rifles had been used in the killing of several uniformed personnel.
“I’d like to ask Congress, especially Senator Bato, kindly dig on because we have identified the person who imported the AK-47 into this country on the pretext of using it in the security — providing security and guards in all, in business establishments and for those who can afford their home,” Duterte said.
“This policeman, I think, is still there. He was a colonel, and he is still (free)… Nothing happened. And many soldiers have died because of the arms brought to the Philippines,” he added.
Duterte also challenged Dela Rosa to shoot the AK-47 importer if the senator happened to see him.
The President added that it should not matter as Dela Rosa, like him, was also facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the government’s drug war.
“So that my orders to the – to you, if you see them walking around, kindly shoot them dead. I would be happy,” Duterte said. “Anyway, you are already being charged in the ICC together with me. So, what is the problem of adding another one?”
"Another idiot Filipino who has caused great damage to our country.
That’s the truth about it," he added of the police general concerned.