Duterte names 5 police generals allegedly linked to illegal drugs

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte is not entertaining any honeymoon with scalawags in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In his speech during the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force Tuesday, the President sprung a surprise on national television when he named five police generals, including three still in active duty, he said were  involved in illegal drugs.

The officers he named who are still in active duty are former Region 6 Director Bernardo Diaz, former NCRPO Director Joel Pagdilao and former QCPD Director Edgardo Tinio. The two who have retired are Vicente Loot, who is now mayor of Daan Bantayan, and former Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo.

“At this time, I order them relieved from their assignments and report to the director general. I would like to talk to them but certainly I would expect the police commission to do their thing,” Duterte said.

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Tinio in an interview told CNN Philippines he has never been involved in any illegal activity.

“I’m willing to subject myself to a lie detector test, and I’m willing to subject my cellphones to forensics,” Tinio said.

There was no immediate reaction from the other officers Duterte named.

The President's instruction to the National Police Commission was clear — “Imbestigahan niyo ito at wag niyo akong bigyan ng sarswela. Hanapin niyo ang totoo,” he said.

[Translation: Investigate this and don’t give me theatrics. Find out the truth.]

Duterte expressed his dismay, saying PNP officials involved in the illegal drug trade in the country have committed treason.

Masakit na pakinggan kasi ginastusan mo na, pinaaral mo na, binigyan mo ng uniporme, pati medyas,” he said.

[Translation: This pains one to hear this because you spent for them, you gave them education, you gave them uniform, you even gave them socks.]

Also read: Dela Rosa to send cops involved in drugs to Sulu, Basilan to fight Abu Sayyaf

More than being a politician, Duterte said he has a moral obligation to tell the truth to the nation.

“It’s really not my practice to humiliate people,” he said. “Pulitiko ako … pero dumating ako sa posisyon na ito, and I have a sacred responsibility to tell the truth to the Filipino people.”

[Translation: I’m a politician … but I was elected to this position, and I have a sacred responsibility to tell the truth to the Filipino people.]

The President warned officials not to get involved in the drug trade because of the deadly consequence.

Marami ng namamatay, at marami pang mamamatay. At wag kayo sumali dyan maski opisyal kayo, because you will put yourself in the line of fire,” Duterte said.

[Translation: Many have died and many more will die. And don’t get involved, even if you are officials, because you will put yourself in the line of fire.]

“I’ve been warning everybody. Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Do not destroy the youth of my country because I will kill you,” he added.

The President tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.

He also thanked former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for paving the way for him, when she raised the problem of illegal drugs as a threat to national security during her administration.

“It’s going to be a bloody fight, but I am not going to apologize for it. I assume full legal responsibility for it,” he told the military.

Wag kayo matakot basta nasa tama kayo,” he said.

[Translation: Don’t be afraid as long as long as you are in the right.]

The President also said he is willing to stake his honor, his life, and even the presidency just to make sure that he will win this battle.

Also read: Duterte promises funds for PNP campaign vs drugs and crime

Duterte admitted, it may be difficult for him to completely stop the illegal drug trade in six months, which he promised during the election campaign, but he said he will come close to it. “Six months and one day after, medyo tapos na (it will more or less be finished),” the President said.

Tinio, who was in his quarters when Duterte mentioned his name as among senior PNP officers allegedly involved in drugs, said he will readily report to PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa and will open himself to any investigation.

Tinio said he doesn’t know why Duterte had linked him to the illegal drug trade.

“I’m surprised that my name was dragged into this mess,” he said.

Tinio vowed to clear his name and retire early.

Duterte said he believes the revival of death penalty will instill fear among criminals. The death penalty is not primarily intended to deter criminals but to exact retribution for their crimes, he said.

Turning to the military, Duterte promised to provide the air force with more equipment to enable it to perform difficult operations.

Ibibigay ang lahat ng kailangan n'yo (We will provide everything you need), I will see to that,” the President said. “We will acquire more helicopters and night vision capability.”

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