ALL 357 Philippine National Police officers and men ordered relieved from their posts and transferred to the Office of the Chief,PNP for their alleged links to illegal drugs will be subjected to a thorough adjudication ordered by General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Officials explained to the Journal Group that their Adjudication Process is outside the court system where the submitted documents such as but not limited to declaration under oath, admission of facts and results of investigation conducted against the policemen involved will be reviewed and evaluated by a PNP Board created to determine if the accused policemen will be cleared from any derogatory information or not.
Under the PNP Enhanced Revitalized Internal Cleansing Strategy, Gen. Gamboa has ordered a complete validation of policemen linked to illegal drug activities.
The PNP directive says that “in any event that a PNP member refuses correction and reproof thru their prevention and reformation phases, the intelligence arms of the various levels of the PNP command will be responsible for the consolidation of validated reports which will serve as the basis for the preparation of the list of policemen involved in illegal activities in the country.’
All policemen with ‘validated confirmed reports’ on their involvement in illegal drugs will be subjected to case build-up while those with ‘validated not true reports’ will be removed from the PNP watch list.
On the other hand, those with validated not true reports due to unavailability of information to develop an intelligence packet for use in negation operation or lack of strong proof/substantial evidence for prosecution will be transferred outside their present assignment.”
Gen. Gamboa has ordered the re-accounting of all policemen included in the National Watchlist on Illegal Drugs after some of them failed to report to the PNP Multi-Purpose Center in Camp Crame last Friday.
The PNP chief transferred the 357 to his office and ordered their daily accounting as they undergo a thorough adjudication process that will see if they are really involved or were merely ‘wrongly accused’ of involvement in illegal drug trafficking abuse.
The 357 are composed of at least two star-rank officers, at least 10 full-fledged Police Colonels, 27 Lieutenant Colonels, 27 Majors, 4 Lieutenants and the rest being all Police Non-Commissioned Officers.
Gen. Gamboa said he is has assured the 357 of a fair and just investigation and added he is giving them the opportunity to go on optional retirement which will allow them to receive some of their benefits which they cannot get once they are dismissed from the service once found guilty of the charges against them.
The PNP chief refused to identify those in the list, saying he is not into the habit of embarrassing his men and their families.
However, officials said that some of those in the list were previously investigated by the Senate and were the subject of thick dossiers regarding their involvement in corrupt police anti-narcotics work.
Majority of the ‘Group 357’ are assigned to the National Capital Region Police Office while the rest are from the Cordillera Police Regional Office, Bangsamoro Administrative Region Police Regional Office, Police Regional Office 4-A in Calabarzon region, PRO1 in Ilocos-Pangasinan region, PRO2 in Cagayan Valley, PRO13 in Caraga region, PRO11 in Southern Mindanao, PRO8 in Eastern Visayas and PRO10 in Northern Mindanao.
Many of them were identified as so-called ‘Ninja Cops’ who gained notoriety for their involvement in ‘bangketa/hulidap’ operations and ‘recycling’ of confiscated drug evidence before and during the early part of the Duterte administration. Their names were later included in the National Watchlist on Illegal Drugs.
Gen. Gamboa said that now is the chance for the policemen claiming they were ‘wrongly accused’ to prove their innocence and finally have their names deleted from the so-called ‘Duterte drug watchlist.’
However, he vowed to prosecute and jail those who will be really found to have received ‘protection money’ from drug lords or directly benefitted from the illegal drug trade by engaging in known ‘Ninja’ activities.’
Gen. Gamboa said it was President Duterte who gave him the clearance to relieve the 357 and subject them to a thorough validation during a joint PNP-Armed Forces command conference in Malacañang Palace on Thursday night.
He said that when he presented his report to the Commander-in-Chief in front of over 100 PNP and Armed Forces generals, he sought the approval of the President to take full action on the case of the 357 policemen by subjecting them to a thorough validation process in a month. The President gave him the go-signal to pursue the validation of the 357.
Gen. Gamboa said they have the mechanism to evaluate the individual reports against the 357 “so finally we can say if they should remain in the list or be removed from it.” “If they are innocent, it’s ok but they themselves know the truth about the charges against them. Thus, I’m offering those who have already been with the police force for the past 20 years or more the chance to file for optional retirement where they can still receive part of their pay and other benefits, “he said.
The PNP chief said that the 357 will be given the chance to clear themselves.
“We will make the final recommendation in a months time after a thorough adjudication process. I hope everything will turn out right. This is a chance for them to be cleared. There should be closure here already,” he said.
The first level of validation will be conducted 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.