18 PNP officials linked to drugs shown the door
MANILA, Philippines — A day after he announced in his second State of the Nation Address that he would let go of “unscrupulous law enforcers and others involved in the highly nefarious drug trade,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. accepted the courtesy resignations of 18 officials of the Philippine National Police, including three generals, for their alleged involvement in illegal drug activities.
A statement released on Tuesday by Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil identified two of the three officials as Brigadier Generals Remus Medina and Randy Peralta.
Both served as chief of the PNP’s primary anti-drug unit, the Drug Enforcement Group (DEG), under the previous administration. Medina headed the DEG from April 2021 to February 2022 and was succeeded by Peralta who served until July 2022. Both belong to the PNP Academy’s Tagapaglunsad Class of 1993.
The third official was Brig. Gen. Pablo Labra II, who was among the Top 3 graduates of PNPA Class of 1993. He served as Caraga regional police office director until he was put on floating status last week during the latest revamp implemented by PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr.
Based on PNP records, the three are far from the compulsory retirement age of 56: Medina was supposed to serve until Oct. 6, 2026; Peralta, March 16, 2026; and Labra, Aug. 4, 2024.
The 15 other police officials whose resignations were also accepted by the President were Colonels Rogarth Campo, Rommel Ochave, Rommel Velasco, Robin Sarmiento, Fernando Ortega, Rex Derilo, Julian Olonan, Rolando Portera, Lawrence Cajipe, Dario Menor, Joel Kagayed Tampis, Michael David, Igmedio Bernaldez, Rodolfo Albotra Jr. and Marvin Sanchez.
“So what will happen is, once we get the official word of the President and our PNP chief has been informed, they (the 18 police officials) will now be informed that their resignation has been accepted, so they will now be severed from the service,” Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos told reporters during an interview at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
“All that I will say is this, it has been accepted, and once it has been accepted, you can already conclude what has been the basis for this,” he said.
Abalos added that the PNP and his department would study whether to file charges against the police officers who, according to Acorda, were “continuously being monitored.”
The PNP chief said the necessary orders for the officers’ relief from their present positions would be immediately issued. They would then be placed on floating status and reassigned to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management “to preclude them from exerting further influence and/or performing illegal activities using their positions.”
The 18 were among 953 PNP officers who underwent screening by a five-man independent panel between February and April for their possible involvement in the narcotics trade.
The screening followed an appeal from Abalos in January for all police generals and colonels to submit their courtesy resignations to give way to a “cleansing” of the PNP.
In May, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) recommended that Marcos refuse the courtesy resignations filed by 917 of the 953 officers. As for the rest, Abalos said more investigations were necessary to prevent innocent officers from being wrongly implicated.
Among the 18 police officers, only Olonan was among the 50 PNP personnel charged by Napolcom before the Office of the Ombudsman in July over their alleged involvement in the controversial antidrug operation in October 2022, which led to the confiscation of 990 kilos of “shabu” or crystal meth worth P6.7 billion.
Of the 50 respondents, 12 were commissioned officers. Two were generals: Lt. Gen. Benjamin Santos Jr., formerly the PNP’s third highest-ranking official as deputy chief for operations, and Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, former DEG director.
Medina and Peralta were previously implicated as backers of dismissed Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr., the owner of the Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc. office in Tondo, Manila, where the DEG officers seized the drugs that were hidden in Chinese tea packs.
Mayo had managed to be recruited as an intelligence officer for the DEG’s Special Operations Unit in the National Capital Region despite the fact that he was sent to Mindanao in 2016 as punishment for his alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
He is currently detained while charges against him are being heard in court.
While looking through footage of the raid taken by a closed-circuit TV camera, the PNP discovered that several DEG officers took some of the drugs before an inventory was conducted.
The stolen 42 kilograms of shabu, which were supposedly meant as a “reward” for police informants, were later recovered in an abandoned car parked on Boni Serrano Avenue in San Juan City, near the PNP headquarters.