Guv, mayor support call for top cops to resign amid possible drug links

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Trenas

By John Noel E. Herrera

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Trenas said they support the appeal of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos to full colonels and generals of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to submit their courtesy resignation from their posts amid allegations of links to the illegal drug trade.

In a Facebook post, Treñas said that he is “very concerned about the possibility that there are still PNP officers playing footsies with the new drug personalities.”

“I am certain that Sec. Benhur (Abalos) has sensitive information about the issue which is not available to all of us,” Treñas added.

In a press conference on Thursday, Defensor said there is nothing wrong with the move of DILG as it is also another way for the department to initiate a fresh start in the PNP.

“That is a welcome move sang aton DILG secretary para mahatagan man sila sang umpisa nga gusto nila. Kita diri sa Iloilo, it doesn’t really matter kung sin-o di ang ibulos nila. Waay man kita problema sa DILG kung sin-o man da i-appoint nila di nga officials sa Iloilo. We have been working with PNP and DILG very smoothly,” Defensor said.

The governor also noted that the work of the PNP, PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), and local government units (LGUs) are significant in clearing illegal drug activities in the province, as Iloilo is “almost drug-cleared” already.

“Again, based on what we discuss in our peace and order meetings, we are on the right track and we are contented with how the anti-drug campaign is going, but we can always improve, it can always be improved. Tama gid ka significant sang nabuhin sa problema,” he added.

Data from PDEA-Iloilo indicated that 1,693 of the 1,721 barangays in the province, or 98.37 percent, were already cleared of illegal drug activities as of November 2022.

Defensor also said that he would only believe that high-ranking PNP officials in the province are involved in the illegal drug trade if there are investigations and concrete evidence presented.

“I don’t think it’s fair for me to say that. There is no way sa subong nga makasiling kita sina nga statement. I don’t know diin ina nagahalin, pero kung may-ara, then they can show us any report or kung ano man da nga investigation, then it will be good for our purposes,” he said.

The governor also admitted that despite the effective anti-illegal drug campaign in the province, one of the challenges Iloilo faces is the construction of rehabilitation facilities in every town.

“Nami ang dalagan sang drug campaign sa probinsya sang Iloilo. Ang challenge ma lang na di sa aton is that the facility, that we should construct in each municipality for the rehabilitation. Challenge siya because it involves budget and waay pa na makumpleto,” Defensor said.

Abalos made the call in a media briefing on Wednesday as there are cases of police officials involved in the trade, and as part of the government’s aim to cleanse their ranks of illegal drug ties.

Abalos explained that it is not a mandatory order, but it might be the fastest way for the country to address the illegal drug trade that has infiltrated the police force.

“Mahirap lumaban sa giyera na ultimo ang kakampi mo ang babaril sa likod mo,” Abalos also said.

He added that a committee of five would be tasked to review the profile of the officials who would submit a courtesy resignation, and while their resignation is still being reviewed, the officials would still function under their current assignments.

Retired PNP General and former Miag-ao, Iloilo Mayor Gerry Flores, on the other hand, said that the DILG’s move was not studied well and emphasized that it was a failure of management for both the PNP and the DILG.

“This is a failure of management. It is a slap on the face of PNP Chief General Rodolfo Azurin, but it is also a slap on the face of the DILG Secretary kay responsible man siya sina (as) he is part of the command. Ang kay Sec. Abalos, ‘carpet bombing’ na iya ginahimo. Pwede man mahimo na through internal cleansing and counterintelligence,” Flores said in an interview with Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.