By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA — Fourteen out of 357 police officers on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug list have expressed intentions to avail of early retirement, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said on Tuesday.
“If you don’t want to embarrass yourself if you are guilty and you think you cannot escape those who will evaluate you, or if you really want peace of mind then we offer you optional retirement,” Gamboa said in a radio interview.
Gamboa, however, said this does not mean that they will be off the hook.
“I made it clear to them na hindi ibig sabihin na kapag nag optionally retired ka hindi ka na namin susundan (this does not mean that when you are optionally retired we will no longer follow you),” he said.
Gamboa assured continued monitoring on these policemen.
Also on the list are 46 policemen who were marked as Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL).
Gamboa acknowledged that the “more tedious” part was the validation of the drug list.
If the policemen were not cleared after the validation, cases will be filed against them.
“Sinabi ko na sa kanila [I told them] we will apply the full force of the law to you. Makikita nyo hindi kayo makalulusot [You will see that you cannot run away],” Gamboa pointed out.
He said the names of the policemen will not be published pending investigation results.
“I will not reveal not even their names. It’s because the presumption is they are already guilty and we cannot avoid speculations once we release their names. So I hope the people would respect that. Let us clean our ranks first,” Gamboa said.
A brigadier general was the highest-ranked police officer on the President’s drug list which was gathered since 2016 when Duterte launched his massive war against illegal drugs.
The national adjudication board of the PNP under Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan would take action against those on the list, Gamboa said.
“We ourselves are going to process them, adjudicate, and validate the information that they are involved and hopefully those who are innocent may clear their names but those who are not may face the full force of the law,” Gamboa said.
He said once the investigation is completed, the results and recommendations will be submitted to the President.
Gamboa has given the PNP’s National Adjudication Board one month to finish the validation of the information on these police officers. (PNA)