MANILA, Philippines—These lazy cops may soon find themselves behind bars.
Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima on Wednesday ordered the filing of administrative and criminal charges against 34 policemen whose failure to appear in court hearings led to the dismissal of charges against arrested drug suspects.
Purisima reiterated his directive to all policemen handling drug cases to religiously attend court trials to help expedite the prosecution of drug pushers and manufacturers.
He instructed the PNP’s main anti-narcotics unit, the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, to closely monitor drug-related cases filed by the police in various courts nationwide.
“Maybe these policemen think that they can get away with what they are doing because nobody is watching them. They are wrong,” Purisima said in a news briefing at Camp Crame. “They will be facing not only administrative charges because the law says they also have criminal liability for their non-appearance in court hearings.”
Upon orders of the PNP chief, task force chief Senior Superintendent Napoleon Taas said his office was coordinating with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and various courts to check on the status of pending drug cases.
According to Taas, they found out that at least 34 PNP personnel had been remiss in attending to their court duties, resulting in the dropping of charges against members of drug syndicates.
Asked if the erring policemen intentionally skipped court hearings to help drug suspects in exchange for money, he said, “We can only speculate.”
“It’s possible that they have been doing this for so long that they are now used to it. Maybe the past PNP leaderships did not prioritize attending to this situation,” Taas told the Inquirer. “With the directive of our PNP chief, we will be pro-active in monitoring drug cases. We will not wait for the courts or PDEA to tell us that some erring policemen may be bungling the cases.”
Taas said his office had submitted the names of the 34 policemen to the PNP Directorate of Investigation and Detective Management for pre-charge investigation.
Of this number, 24 were assigned to the anti-illegal drugs unit of several police stations in Metro Manila.
If found guilty, he said, the PNP personnel will be immediately dropped from the rolls.
Citing Section 91 of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, he said the police officers may also spend up to 20 years in jail and pay a fine of not more than P500,000.
He said task force will also file the appropriate administrative and criminal charges against the direct superiors of these policemen.