PRESIDENT Marcos on Friday said he had been involved in planning the move of Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos to ask top police officials to submit their courtesy resignations as part of the government’s anti-drug drive.
“Oh yes, we were planning this for a while,” Marcos said when asked if Abalos’ decision had his imprimatur.
Marcos said this was part of his new approach to the drug problem and was what he had been talking about during the campaign when he was asked about what he planned to do about the drug war.
“Let me be very clear. Remember during the campaign nung tinatanong ako ano yung gagawin sa drug war, sa drug problem? This is it. We approach it in an entirely different way,” he told reporters after his inspection of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“Alam naman natin na yung problema sa drugs, hindi mangyayari yan kung hindi kasabwat yung iba sa pulis,” he added.
In asking police colonels and generals to tender their courtesy resignations, Abalos said the move was meant as a shortcut to remove those with links to the illegal drug trade.
He said a five-member committee would evaluate the officers and decide on their fate.
Marcos said there is a need to look closely at the officers to see who still deserves to remain in service and who deserves to go for association with drug lords.
“We are making sure na yung opisyal na matitira sa atin ay maasahan natin at nagtatrabaho para sa gobyerno, hindi nagta trabaho para sa ibang sindikato,” he said.
Need to build a case
He also defended the move from criticism that it was illogical as it would affect even those who are innocent. Opposition Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said officials should just identify the crooked cops and prosecute them.
The President said the government could not yet file cases as it has yet to identify the officials involved in illegal drugs.
The government would form a body to look into the records of all the officers and reinstate those who are cleared, he said.
“Maybe we will have to decide what do we do with those who are implicated as being involved in the drug trade. Siguro yung severe cases kakasuhan natin. We’ll see, we are not yet there,” he said.
The government has to build a strong case first, he said.
“Yung haka-haka lang, chismis-chismis lang, ito involved ito, ito involved diyan, dinaanan na natin yan eh, walang nangyari. Tiyakin natin kung magkakaso tayo, ipapanalo talaga natin at makukulong talaga kung sino man ang napatunayn na kasabwat dito sa drug trade,” he said.
What happens to the PNP amid resignations?
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. led other top officials in submitting courtesy resignations in compliance with Abalos’ appeal.
The officials who have submitted the courtesy resignations will remain in the service unless the President has accepted these.
Banner photo: PTV screengrab