ALMOST 600 third-level officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from all over the country have submitted their courtesy resignation following the appeal of Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. in a bid to weed out the police organization of erring cops.

In a press conference in Camp Crame, PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said they are expecting that more police colonels and generals will heed to Abalos’ call especially after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos expressed support for it.

Azurin earlier said that there were a total of 956 third-level officers in the PNP.

Abalos made the call on Tuesday last week, January 3, after getting information that several officials of the PNP, which was among the frontliners in the country’s fight against illegal drugs, are actually involved in its operation.

This came following the arrest of a PNP drug operative who yielded two kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride in his lending office in Manila.

Azurin said there were about 10 police officials implicated in the drug trade.

An independent committee, which consists of five “honorable” members, will evaluate the courtesy resignation of the PNP officials. The courtesy resignation will be the basis of their recommendation to Marcos.

The resignation of those who will be found involved in the illegal drugs will be accepted.

Meanwhile, Azurin said the PNP will conduct an investigation against the “innocent PNP 3rd Level Officers” who called for his resignation amid the controversy that the PNP is facing.

The innocent PNP officers said Azurin should do the “supreme sacrifice” as his negligence and incompetence led the PNP to such a situation.

He said administrative charges may be filed against these officers.

“If they are truly innocent, I think there is no reason for them to hide under the third level innocent na tag. We are not bringing down the house. Ang ginagawa natin ongoing investigation doon sa mga suspected na mga officers involved in the illegal drug trade and we wanted itong mga third level officers natin ay ma-clear sila because sooner or later, they will be occupying key positions in the PNP,” said Azurin.

“I think as far as the investigation is concerned, of course vinavalidate ng ating intelligence yan kung sino ‘yung nagpakalat,” he added.

The deadline for the submission of courtesy resignation is on January 31, while the evaluation will be done within two to three months.

Meanwhile, amid the internal cleansing in the organization, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has conducted a surprise drug testing on all 72 third-level officers in the region.

NCRPO Director Major General Jonnel Estomo said they all yielded negative results following the screening based on the report released by the PNP Crime Laboratory Field Office.

“As I formerly said that should there be anyone found to be positive of illegal drugs, he is automatically deemed resigned from the service immediately. Fortunately, none of the officers with me yielded positive results of the test. This is a positive starting indicator to this noble purpose of our SILG and our chief PNP in purging the organization,” he said.

Estomo said a surprise random testing among NCRPO personnel will continue under his stint to eliminate drug-using cops in Metro Manila.

“It is important to emphasize that those who tendered courtesy resignation are not drug users. This would reinforce the 5-man assessment committee on their evaluation to be carried out. On the other hand, this may serve as a stern warning to all policemen in the region. No one can run or hide with the continuing conduct of random drug testing,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)