1 of 357 cops probed for drug links slain

February 17, 2020

ONE is already dead, 15 have requested to be allowed to go on optional retirement, 43 are currently AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave).

The 59 are among the 357 Philippine National Police officers and men who were ordered investigated by PNP chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa for reported involvement in illegal drug activities.

The PNP chief said that the 357 are undergoing the first level of validation by an adjudication board from the Regional, National Support Unit and PNP Directorial Staff.

The final adjudication will come from the National Headquarters Adjudication Board headed by PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Lieutenant Gen. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan whose decision will be approved by Gen. Gamboa and later endorsed to President Duterte for the Commander-in-Chief’s final word.

Gen. Gamboa said that some of the 357 are also set to compulsorily retire from the service at the age of 56. The 43 others who went AWOL will be tried separately for their latest administrative offense. He added that the 43 must explain why they failed to report to Camp Crame despite due notice. He said that usually, an erring cop’s alibi in case he fails to heed a summons is that he got sick or due to medical reason, but he must be able to present a proof within 24 hours or be marked AWOL.

The PNP chief said that the accused were ordered to undergo drug and polygraph tests. All who surfaced at Camp Crame two Fridays ago tested negative for substance abuse however.

He also said that the polygraph test has no probative value but will aid in their investigation. The top cop did not fully elaborate on the case of the slain policeman but only gave his last name as ‘Barrameda’ and added he was shot.

However, last February 5, a former Mindanao police intelligence officer named Staff Sergeant Ronaldo Barrameda was shot dead by a lone gunman in Biñan City, Laguna.  

“On the ongoing adjudication of 357 PNP personnel, following our own internal PNP disciplinary mechanisms, we want to show the public that we can pursue internal cleansing and maintain order and discipline in our ranks to earn the trust and confidence of the President and the people,” Gen. Gamboa said.

He also described as “wrong statement and has no basis” Vice President Leni Robredo’s warning of a possible cover-up of the 357 including Lieutenant Col. Jovie Espenido pointing out that it was them that got the go-signal of the President to conduct the thorough investigation.

“We need to act fast and act now on the adjudication of 357 PNP personnel whom I have ordered reassigned to my Office to ensure their availability to face further investigation because I do not want to end my term as Chief PNP in September without having adjudicating with finality the status of personnel in the drugs watchlist,” he said.

“I would like to emphasize that all 357 personnel concerned are presumed innocent until the requirements of due process are completely satisfied. I beg your kind indulgence that the PNP needs to keep the identities of these personnel confidential incidental to their presumption of innocence.  

“It should be understood, however, that even if they avail of my offer to early retirement, it does not extinguish their culpability as determined by the investigation,” he added.