PNP relieves former SAF chief, 3 others over plunder, grave misconduct raps

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 17) — The Philippine National Police on Tuesday relieved Police Director and former Special Action Forces (SAF) chief Benjamin Lusad, along with three other police officers, over plunder and grave misconduct charges filed against them before the Ombudsman.

Senior Supt. Andre Dizon, Senior Police Officer 2 Maila Bustamante, and Senior Police Officer 1 Jack James Irica, who were named in the complaint, were also relieved.

Lusad and Dizon are currently assigned to the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Southern Luzon, while Bustamante and Irica are non-commissioned SAF officers.

READ: Former SAF chief accused of plunder

The complaint, filed by current and retired SAF officers, stated the four failed to release the additional subsistence allowance of around 4,000 SAF troopers amounting to around P59-million.

The SAF personnel did not receive their P30/day subsistence allowance from February to December 2016 and from August to December 2017, it added.

Some of the complainants said they met with Lusad on two occasions, during which he allegedly confirmed receiving money meant for the subsistence allowance. They said Lusad apologized, telling them the funds were spent instead for operations, fellowship and training.

Outgoing PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa earlier said he received an unsatisfacory explanation from Lusad about the issue.

Interior Department Officer-in-Charge, Undersecretary Eduardo Año and incoming PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said they would make sure SAF personnel will receive the subsistence allowance due them.

Police officials said they don't want to prejudge the case, and would rather wait for the outcome of proceedings.