De Lima: Asking PNP colonels, generals to resign is ‘unprecedented yet bold’ move
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) found an unlikely ally in former senator Leila de Lima, as the opposition figure lauded the request that colonels and generals submit their courtesy resignations.
De Lima in a statement on Thursday praised Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. for making an “unprecedented but bold” move in asking the PNP officials to resign, based on fears that the drug trade may have made its way up to the police leadership.
“Way to go, SILG Abalos! Unprecedented yet bold. Kailangan lang panindigan nang todo-todo ang hakbang na yan (You only need to intently stand up for that move). There shouldn’t be any wavering,” de Lima said.
“Neither should there be room for arbitrariness or faulty exercise of judgment on courtesy resignations. Hindi dapat manipulahin at mapulitika (This should not be subject to maneuvers and politics),” she added.
Under Abalos’ plan, PNP officials who submitted their courtesy resignations would be assessed by a five-person committee, which would then verify if the colonels and generals are really involved in the drug trade.
PNP officials would continue working while the committee assesses them. Those who are confirmed to have no drug links would be allowed to continue — thus having their courtesy resignations rescinded.
For officials proven to be involved in the drug trade, the committee would approve their courtesy resignations.
READ: Abalos seeks courtesy resignation of all PNP colonels, generals amid possible drug links
READ: PNP chief Azurin not spared from courtesy resignation — Abalos
While several activist groups have sounded alarm on Abalos’ move as it supposedly opens the door for the lack of accountability, de Lima said that it can be a way to go after true drug protectors.
“Tugisin ang mga tunay na drug protector! Kasuhan at parusahan ang mga yan (Go after the true drug protectors! File cases and prosecute these people),” she said.
De Lima has been detained for nearly six years at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame due to drug-related charges. She was accused of protecting and benefitting from the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), when she was still Justice secretary of former president Benigno Aquino III’s administration.
NBP is under the management of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), an attached agency of the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Despite the cases, de Lima maintained that she was only detained after earning the ire of former president Rodrigo Duterte, as she led investigations into the bloody drug war campaign.
READ: Drop cases vs De Lima, US officials urge gov’t
De Lima’s supporters saw a glimmer of hope that the former senator would be released from the drug charges, after key prosecution witnesses like convicted drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and former and former BuCor chief Rafael Ragos admitted that they were only coerced into testifying against her.
In Ragos case, he said that former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II — Duterte’s first DOJ chief — asked him to corroborate the allegations against de Lima.
Kerwin Espinosa recants drug trade accusations vs Sen. Leila de Lima
Recanting witness Ragos says ‘really sorry’ to de Lima: ‘I got scared’
Ragos: I was forced thrice to sign affidavits vs De Lima
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