High-ranking police officials will undergo a lifestyle check as part of efforts to purge the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP), police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said on Tuesday.
In an interview with dzBB radio, Azurin said lifestyle checks are among the ways the five-member panel responsible for reviewing the records of police generals and colonels who were asked to submit their courtesy statements.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the only member of the five-member panel who has been identified so far, also said a lifestyle check will be part of the vetting process.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday that only 3 to 4 percent of the 900 colonels and generals of the Philippine National Police are directly linked to illegal drugs.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said in a televised interview that his source for the number came from intelligence reports collected by the PNP.
“There are some intelligence reports, but we have to vet them very, very well.” According to PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurino Jr. it’s about more or less, 3 to 4 percent of the top cops,” Abalos said.
National Capital Police Bureau director Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo said a total of 76 police colonels and other high-ranking officials assigned in Metro Manila submitted their courtesy resignations in compliance with Abalos’ request to do so as part of efforts to get rid of “bad eggs” in the police force .
He said the NCRPO is “100 percent compliant” with Abalos’ call.
Estomo also said that a total of 30 station commanders with the rank of police lieutenant colonel have complied with his order to submit to the drug test.
“If any of you test positive, you will be immediately relieved and I will file the appropriate charges against you. If it is negative, it is very good for us,” he said.
Estomo said while the committee formed by Abalos evaluates their submitted courtesy resignations, he will continue to conduct surprise drug tests on all his men.
“The administration of this drug test to QCPD and MPD station commanders is to demonstrate to their subordinates that their officers are not involved in illegal drug use,” he said.
Abalos said on Monday that 60 percent or more than 500 colonels and generals of the PNP submitted their courtesy resignations less than a week after his removal.
He said he expects more police generals and colonels to comply this week through the end of the month.
“There is no demoralization in the ranks of the PNP. In fact, they welcome this development because they too would like to see the police organization rid of villains and scumbags,” Abalos said.
He said the courtesy resignation will not affect the service delivery of the PNP.
He guaranteed that the investigation would be independent and impartial as it would go through two rounds of review, one by a five-member advisory panel led by Magalong, before being forwarded as a recommendation to the National Police Commission. He added that they want to finish the investigation within three months.
On Tuesday, 21 PNP level three officers in Eastern Visayas also expressed their support for Abalos’ challenge.
“This is a great challenge for the uniformed service and an opportunity to speed up the process of internal cleansing in our ranks. I believe we will emerge as a stronger organization and regain the trust and confidence of the people,” said Brig. Gene. Rommel Francisco Marbil, police regional director, during a press conference at Camp Ruperto Kangleon in Palo, Leyte Tuesday.
“We do not tolerate involvement in any illegal drug activities within our ranks,” he added.
The 21 third-level officers consist of two brigadier generals and 19 colonels.