WV top cop to heed resignation call

Brigadier General Leo Francisco

By Jennifer P. Rendon

How does one solve the problem of illegal drugs?

For Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos Jr., one of the solutions is for high-ranking police officials to submit their courtesy resignations.

Amid concerns over the reported link of ranking Philippine National Police (PNP) officials to the illegal drug trade, Abalos called on full colonels and generals of the country’s police force to voluntarily quit.

Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas’s police director, will not raise a howl over Abalos’ call.

“As a good soldier, I will heed the call of the SILG,” Francisco briefly said when asked for his reaction.

When further pressed to elaborate, Francisco said the move will give them a chance to clear their names of any link to the illicit narcotics trade.

“Personally, this will give a chance for us, Colonels and General, to be assessed, evaluated and if in the process be investigated, para magkaroon ng chance bawat isa na maipagtanggol ang sarili nila with regard to drugs involvement,” he said.

Meanwhile, other police colonels and Brigadier General Archibald Macala, the second highest-ranking police officer in Western Visayas, have yet to react to Abalos’ call.

But it’s already expected that most of them would rather maintain their silence.

While ranking police officers have chosen not to comment any further, Abalos’ statement drew mixed, but mostly negative reactions from netizens.

Others called it hypocrisy. Some labeled it as a band-aid solution.

“Mag-re-retire ang mga generals at colonels. Sinong papalit? Lieutenant Colonels at Majors?” a netizen asked.

Another pointed out to Abalos almost running the police force.

“‘Yung nagmamando ay ni minsan ‘di nakaranas magsuot ng uniporme.”

Some advocated identifying top-ranking cops who are illegal drug protectors and hauling them to court if Abalos has evidence.

Others pointed out that as a DILG chief, he should have known how local politicians get entangled in the illegal drug protection racket.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., who is not exempt from the resignation call, said that if Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. accepts the courtesy resignation of ranking officers, they will be considered retired and are entitled to benefits for their years of service.

But just like other government officials, police officers must also hurdle the clearance process before they can get their retirement benefits.

In a news conference in Metro Manila,  Abalos said his appeal has precedent when the late former president Fidel Ramos called for police officials to submit courtesy resignations in 1992 over a police uniform issue.

“It is just an appeal. Number two, this was done in 1992, if I’m not mistaken, by general, former president Ramos. Remember, when there was an issue with the uniforms, he asked them to hand in courtesy resignations. There’s already a precedent where officers were asked to do courtesy resignation, so this approach already happened,” he explained.

Abalos said the PNP officials will continue to work even after tendering their resignation which would be evaluated by a five-person committee.

The committee will go over the profiles of the PNP officials before accepting or rejecting their resignations.

But even if the PNP official is deemed resigned, cases can still be filed against them if there is probable cause to do so.

Abalos described the assessment as a shortcut to the lengthy legal procedures for sacking ranking police officials.

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