PNP chief listens

February 29, 2020

I’M referring to my previous column entitled “Wanted: A Study On Why There Are Drug-Using Cops in PH” which has caught the special attention of PNP chief, General Archie Gamboa.

After reading my piece, the lawyer-member of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 ordered the Center for Police Strategy Management headed by Brigadier Gen. Sterling Blanco to lead a study into the matter.

I learned that Gen. Gamboa also called the attention of all 17 Police Regional Office directors and heads of the different PNP Directorial Staff and National Support Units to look into the matter.

Blanco, a member of PMA ‘Makatao’ Class of 1989 said that as I have suggested, the study will focus on drug-using police officers and men in the country and what led them to be hooked into shabu or marijuana.

The study will concentrate on the policemen’s family, education, work exposure, neighborhood, assignment and colleagues as well as other support system and external environment which prompted them to use drugs.

It’s really a tough assignment since many policemen will not admit to having used drugs even if their urine samples have tested positive for substance abuse during initial screening and confirmatory tests.

However, this will be for the good of the organization and the whole country as it would eventually lead to the identification of the problem and their solutions. What we need here is a surefire formula that will prevent the presence of drug-using cops.

Thus, I give credit to Gen. Gamboa and NCRPO director, Major Gen. Debold ‘Dodong’ Sinas for really admitting there is a problem on drug-using policemen. In fact, it was Gen. Sinas who had revealed that seven Metro Manila policemen have tested positive for substance abuse during separate conducts of surprise drug testing and would automatically be candidates for expulsion from the police force.

One of them belong to the so-called Group 357 or the 357 police officers and men who were ordered subjected to a thorough adjudication by Gen. Gamboa to give them a chance to prove their innocence or go on optional retirement if they know that police have the beef on them when it comes to involvement in illegal drug activities.

With all honesty and candor, I really don’t know why these drug-using policemen have the gall to continue with their bad habit despite the serious campaign of President Duterte to go after policemen who are involved directly or indirectly in illegal drug activities, including those who are using shabu, marijuana and other illegal drugs.

From October last year to date, Sinas told me that around 6,000 Metro Manila policemen have been subjected to surprise drug testing. Last month alone, Sinas said that one member of the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division he identified as Corporal Anthony Romano tested positive for shabu use and even confessed to holding drug sessions with other police officers who are in active duty.

Last week, he said that Staff Sergeant Ronald Carpio who actually was among the 31  NCRPO members included in the list of 357 also tested positive for shabu use. Both cops’ urine sample also tested positive for shabu when subjected to a confirmatory test using the PNP Crime Laboratory Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer or GCMS equipment.

Another, Lieutenant Rodel Torres of the Muntinlupa City police force also tested positive for shabu when subjected to a drug screening by the NCR Regional Crime Laboratory Office headed by Lieutenant Colonel Ruby Diangson. All have been ordered disarmed, relieved from their posts and are now undergoing investigation.

As I’ve said before, I fully agree with Gen. Sinas when he made the following statement:  “Gusto namin malaman paano ba talaga ang isang pulis nag-uumpisa na gumamit ng shabu para doon pa lang ay ma-address na namin ‘yung concern ng ibang pulis para hindi sila maging addict in the future.” This is really a great concern since a cop armed with a gun and a badge but is high on drugs is really a potent dangerous mix.

WAITING FOR ATENEO STUDY

Tomorrow, I will be attending the release of an Ateneo study on why the public has a low percepton of the PNP at Camp Crame. Conducted by the Ateneo School of Government, the study called “Leadership Study Diagnosing Factors Behind Success and Failure in the Philippine National Police”, will emphasize some of the elements that “build and erode” the qualities and performance of the police force.

“For years, we have been searching for a clearer answer on the problem of low public perception of PNP, and now we seek the help of the academe to conduct this study,” Gen. Gamboa said as he asked his top officials and selected media personalities to be present during the event.

The study examined four main factors that positively or negatively affect the PNP: personality traits, organizational culture, demographic profile, and professional history. Some 479 police officers from the National Capital Region served as key informants in the research.