Azurin to ‘steer’ panel reviewing PNP top brass, says Abalos
MANILA, Philippines — General Rodolfo Azurin Jr., chief of the Philippine National Police and one of the high-ranking officers who filed his courtesy resignation, will head the five-member committee created to do the first layer of examination on the PNP’s top echelon.
Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. revealed Azurin’s name on Wednesday, as well as the two other members of the panel – former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. and retired police general Isagani Nerez.
READ: PNP chief Azurin not spared from courtesy resignation — Abalos
They will be joining Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who was the first member of the panel to be announced.
“Ito iyong maibibigay kong pangalan. Kamukha nang sinabi ko, iyong panglima ay ayaw muna ipasabi ang kaniyang pangalan kaya ito’y pag-uusapan namin how to go about with this,” Abalos said in a press briefing at the Malacañang.
(These are the only names that I can give because as I said, the fifth member does not want to be named. We’ll still talk about how to go about this.)
The five-member body, Abalos noted, was formed to tackle the issue of eliminating PNP members with criminal drug ties. The mission is to help build a police force that is free of drug-related activities.
“I am definite that this advisory group shall remain apolitical throughout the process of screening and in the end, penalize only those guilty and involved in the illegal drug trade,” he underscored.
As head of the national police, Azurin is also an ex-officio commissioner of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
The Napolcom, where Abalos sits as chairperson, will amend or trim down the list of top PNP officials found linked to the illegal trade before turning over officers’ courtesy resignations to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for necessary action.
So how will Azurin be screened?
Abalos disclosed that the PNP head had been vetted and cleared, noting that Marcos did not sign Azurin’s courtesy resignation.
“He is needed there [as] the chief PNP to also steer the committee. He’s in a position to give recent intelligence reports etcetera,” Abalos explained.
Abalos did not say who was responsible for analyzing the PNP chief’s records, but he did say that the Azurin-led committee would finish its appraisal of the top PNP officers within three months.
“Sana matapos kami nang three months (We hope we finish this in three months). The sooner we finish this, the better,” Abalos added.
Only 1 did not heed ‘quit’ call
While 12 of the 955 PNP generals and colonels did not file their courtesy resignations, Abalos pointed out that, technically, only one top-ranking police officer did not heed his call ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline.
“Kung tutuusin, isa lang iyong hindi nag-comply (If you think about it, only one did not comply with the call). Why? Of the 12, five have already retired. So that leaves us with seven. And of the seven, six are retiring. If we’re going to look at the figures, technically, only one has not yet submitted their resignation out of 955,” he said.
It was in early January when Abalos first publicly appealed for all the top PNP officials to turn in their courtesy resignations and subject themselves to an evaluation as part of the government’s “very radical” approach of weeding out officers allegedly involved in the drug trade.
But even without the call for the courtesy resignations of high-ranking police officers in the country, Abalos said the PNP will regularly monitor and investigate its personnel who are found engaged in illegal activities.
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