Palace: 5 generals got ‘due process’ | Inquirer News
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Palace: 5 generals got ‘due process’

Due process was followed, the presidential chief legal counsel insisted on Thursday.

President Duterte’s naming last Monday of five police officers as coddlers of drug lords before an official investigation could be conducted was not a violation of their right to due process, chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said on Thursday.

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Panelo said that due process meant giving a respondent a chance to explain his or her side of an accusation.

“When the President named them, he was in fact giving them the opportunity to explain their side. That is what they’re doing now. They went to the media and explained their innocence,” Panelo said of the police officers Mr. Duterte named as protectors of drug lords.

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When three of the police officers—who are still in the active service—went to the PNP chief after the President singled them out, that was also due process, Panelo added.

As for evidence against the police officers, Panelo said this would come once formal charges were filed.

Panelo said there was another upside to the President’s decision to name the police officials.

With the allegation of the President coming before the formal filing of a case, the police officers now had more time to study their situation and consult with lawyers. If they only learned of the claims after the filing, they would have only 10 days to file a response, he said.

Panelo was also certain that Mr. Duterte had adequate basis for his accusation against the police officers. The President has access to all kinds of information and intelligence reports, he said.

There was little probability the President was fed the wrong information, he added.

Wearing their police uniforms and accompanied by their lawyers, Chief Superintendents Bernardo Diaz, Edgardo Tinio and Joel Pagdilao arrived at the office of Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, who chairs the National Police Commission (Napolcom), at 8:30 a.m., and held a closed-door meeting.

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Under Napolcom rules, it was up to President Duterte himself whether or not to penalize and dismiss from the service the three still active high-ranking police officers he had accused of being protectors of drug syndicates.

This is because “the findings of the Napolcom are only recommendatory because the respondents here are third-level officials. They are presidential appointees. Our investigation is subject to the final approval of the President,” Napolcom vice chair and executive officer Rogelio Casurao explained to reporters on Thursday.

The three officers left the Napolcom premises at 1:30 p.m., without speaking to media.

Casurao said the Napolcom would not be giving updates on the investigation until it was completed.

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TAGS: anti-drug campaign, Drugs, narco-generals, Nation, News, Rodrigo Duterte
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