DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. appealed on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, to all full-fledged police colonels and generals to submit a courtesy resignation as part of the government’s fight against illegal drugs.

In a press conference in Camp Crame in Quezon City, Abalos said that after months of studying the country’s problem on illegal drugs, it appears that there is a bigger trouble in the police organization, which is among the government agencies primarily involved in addressing the drug menace.

“Nakakabigla na malalim na ang impeksyon dito sa kapulisan… Ano ang sinasabi ko mga kababayan? Mahirap lumaban sa giyera na ultimo ang dapat kakampi mo ang babaril sayo. Kinakailangan linisin natin ang hanay natin,” he said.

(It’s shocking that the infection is deep here in the police force… What am I saying folks? It’s hard to fight in a war where the shooter is on your side. We need to clean up our ranks.)

“Pagkatapos naming pag-aralan ng ilang buwan ang problema natin, lumalabas na na malaki ang problema dito sa kapulisan. Lumalabas na meron mga generals, merong mga coronel na sangkot sa droga at ayon sa recommendation ng chief PNP at ng ilang kapulisan, ako ay nananawagan sa lahat ng full colonel hanggang sa general, ako ay umaapela na magsubmit ng courtesy resignation. Alam kong mabibigla kayo pero this is the only way to make a fresh start,” he added.

(After studying our problem for a few months, it appears that the police have a big problem here. It appears that there are generals, there are colonels involved in drugs and according to the recommendation of the PNP chief and some police officers, I am calling on all full colonels up to the general to submit a courtesy resignation. I know you will be shocked but this is the only way to make a fresh start.)

Abalos said they have identified several police officials who are holding “critical positions” but are involved in the illegal drug trade.

He said it was the result of the investigation following the arrest of Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr., a member of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group’s Special Operations Unit in the National Capital Region, in Quiapo, Manila on October 9, 2022.

The operation stemmed from the arrest of a drug suspect identified as Ney Saligumba Atadero during a buy-bust operation in Tondo Manila on October 8.

Recovered from Atadero were over 990 kilograms of shabu with an estimated value of P6.7 billion.

Atadero revealed to police that more illegal drugs can be found inside a lending company office, the Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc., in Sta. Cruz that was owned by Mayo.

Found inside the office were two kilograms of shabu with an estimated street value of P13.6 million.

“Marami tayong kapulisan na talagang andun lumalaban. Nakita ko kung paano magtrabaho sa bansa, binubuwis ang sariling buhay alang alang sa droga pero paano ka lalaban kung binubuwis mo ang buhay mo at ang mismong boss mo pala ang kalaban mo. Mabigat po ito. Mabigat itong gagawin natin, it is a very radical approach to this problem but I do believe we must cleanse our ranks,” he said.

(We have a lot of policemen who are really there to fight. I saw how they work in the country, taxing their own lives for the sake of drugs, but how can you fight if you tax your life and your boss is your opponent? It’s heavy. We will do this seriously. It is a very radical approach to this problem but I do believe we must cleanse our ranks.)

Abalos said he finds making the appeal the easier way to weed out the PNP from erring personnel, instead of resorting to legal remedies that would entail a longer timeframe even if the culprits have already been pinpointed.

Abalos said he will form a five-man committee that will go through the records and evaluate the resignations for recommendation to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Actually, ganito naman yan eh, it’s just a courtesy resignation. Hangga’t hindi tinatanggap, nandiyan ka you see. So tuloy-tuloy pa rin. Only those resignations that would be accepted by the President,” he said.

(Actually, it’s just a courtesy resignation. As long as it is not accepted, you are there. So it’s still continuous. Only those resignations that would be accepted by the President.)

He refused to name the members of the committee, which excludes him and PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin, for security purposes but he assured that they are “clean.”

While the vetting is ongoing, the police officials will continue with their service to the organization until their resignation is accepted.

The DILG chief assured the PNP officials that there is nothing to worry about submitting their courtesy resignations if they are “clean” and have no involvement in the illegal drug trade, stressing that the committee members are men of honor and will never succumb to any political or outside pressure.

Abalos said there were about 300 full-fledged colonels and generals in the PNP roster.

In a separate interview, PNP chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Colonel Red Maranan said they fully support Abalos’ appeal.

“Kami po sa pambansang pulisya ay susunod at tatalima po kung ano man po ang desisyon ng ating mga political leaders sapagkat alam po namin na lahat ng mga desisyon na ito ay para sa ikabubuti ng aming organisasyon at ikabubuti po ng ating bansa,” he said.

(We in the national police will follow and obey whatever the decision of our political leaders is because we know that all these decisions are for the good of our organization and the good of our country.) (SunStar Philippines)