PNP chief clears 4 officers of partisanship
The Philippine National Police will relieve four senior officers if accusations of political partisanship in connection with a certain presidential candidate are formally filed against them.
Even as PNP Director General Ricardo Marquez said he believed the generals spotted at the Novotel Manila last weekend were at the hotel for personal reasons, he warned that police officials found favoring certain candidates would be dealt with and face administrative charges.
“We have mechanisms on dealing with this, so if someone is reported engaged in partisan politics, he will have to face the consequences of his actions,” Marquez said.
In a press conference in Camp Crame on Thursday, Marquez said he was giving Director Generoso Cerbo Jr. and the three other police generals the benefit of the doubt.
Last Saturday, Cerbo, chief of the PNP directorate for intelligence, and Chief Superintendents Ranier Idio, Bernardo Diaz and Ronald Santos were seen by journalists at the Novotel hotel, which is located in the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. The Araneta Center is owned by the family of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas.
A supposedly confidential meeting of the LP was being held at the hotel at the time. Also spotted was Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, inspector general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Cerbo, Idio, Diaz, Santos and Lactao all belong to Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984, which had adopted Roxas as an honorary member.
Cerbo has said that he was there for a breakfast meeting with Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr. (ret.), the former deputy PNP chief for administration.
For his part, Lactao said he was at the hotel to meet a classmate, an Army colonel who was seeking his advice on career matters.
Lactao denied talking to a member of Roxas’ staff and said that he did not meet with Cerbo’s group.
Marquez said that upon receiving reports of partisanship by policemen, the PNP immediately relieves them whether the claims against them “were true or not.”
He cited a PNP officer in Abra who was removed following complaints he was favoring a local official.
But in the case of the four police generals, Marquez said he was giving them the benefit of the doubt since they explained that they were there for “personal meetings not related to the elections.”