PNP chief recalls cops in drug watchlist to Camp Crame
MANILA, Philippines — The 356 police officers in the government’s drug watchlist have been ordered by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa to report to his office to ensure their availability once their adjudication process starts.
The police chief said the 356 officers would face a National Adjudication Board led by Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan. The board was tasked to determine if the cops are really involved in the drug trade.
“We need to act fast and act now on the adjudication of  PNP personnel whom I have ordered reassigned to my Office to ensure their availability to face further investigation,” Gamboa said during his press briefing on Monday.
“I do not want to end my term as Chief PNP in September without having adjudicating with finality the status of personnel in the drugs watchlist,” he added.
Originally, there were 357 policemen in the drug watchlist but one of them was recently shot dead, according to Gamboa.
Currently, 15 of the 356 police officers chose the early retirement option offered by Gamboa while 43 are under the absence without official leave (AWOL) status. Gamboa also noted that all but 47 policemen in the watchlist have undergone drug testing and that results of which came out negative.
He also said the PNP members went through a polygraph test or a lie detector test although he did not release the results since these may not have any bearing in court.
Before facing the National Adjudication Board, a similar body at the regional level would evaluate the allegations against the concerned officers. All evaluations would be forwarded to the committee headed by Cascolan.
“I’m giving them a week to evaluate and adjudicate based on the information that they have. And then after that […] it will go to the National Adjudication Board, but nevertheless today, later this afternoon, the board will already start to meet,” Gamboa said.
While PNP can no longer pursue administrative charges against the 15 who chose to retire, it can still sanction the 43 officers considered AWOL. However, the adjudication of the officers who chose to stay would be prioritized.
“Ang instructions ko kanina kay General Cascolan, who is the chairperson of the National Adjudication Board, is although hindi muna sila i-tackle kasi differently treated na sila, after the adjudication of the remaining, we will still evaluate them whether they should remain in the watchlist or not,” he added.
(My instructions to General Cascolan, who is the chairperson of the National Adjudication Board, is that although they would not yet tackle the issue of those who are AWOL and who opted for early retirement, we will still evaluate them whether they should remain in the watchlist or not.)
Earlier, Gamboa took offense to speculations made by Vice President Leni Robredo that public trust in the PNP may erode if police officers in the drug watchlist are absolved from their responsibilities. Gamboa said Robredo’s statement was wrong and had no basis.
The Vice President’s statements stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, a controversial police official that quickly became the poster boy of Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign, is clean despite his inclusion in the drug watchlist.
Espenido gained popularity after leading police raids in Albuera, Leyte, and Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental – which led to the deaths of Albuera Mayor Ronaldo Espinosa and Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
Edited by KGA
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