Palace oks ‘optional retirement’ offer to cops in drug watchlist
MANILA, Philippines — Malacanang sees nothing wrong with the move of certain members of the Philippine National Police who are included in the drug watchlist to opt for early retirement, since criminal prosecution will still be pursued against them.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo made the pronouncement Thursday after PNP Chief P/Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa said several policemen are now considering optional retirement after they were included in a list linking them to illegal drugs.
“Subject to prosecution naman eh so wala namang mali doon (there’s nothing wrong about it),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“It would be different kung bibigyan mo ng optional retirement pagkatapos may criminal waiver ng prosecution. Eh ibang usapan na ‘yun (It would be different if you will give them optional retirement and then you will waive criminal prosecution. That’s a different story). That would be unlawful. You cannot waive criminal prosecution if there’s a violation of the law,” he added.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said that PNP’s offer is meant to avoid the long, tedious legal process it has to go through should it pursue legal action against the cops in the drug watchlist.
He noted that the optional retirement offer does not run counter Duterte’s order to Gamboa to get rid of policemen involved in illicit activities.
He also said the option doesn’t also mean that “they won’t be prosecuted if there’s evidence they’ve been involved.”
Gamboa previously disclosed that there were 357 police in the drug watchlist of Duterte.
Meanwhile, Panelo cannot say yet if Duterte is inclined to make public the names of the cops on the drug list.
In March 2019, two months before the midterm elections, the President exposed 46 politicians on the government’s “narco list,” or elected officials involved in the illegal drug trade.
Edited by EDV
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