THE 15 policemen in Negros Island Region (NIR) mentioned in the sworn statement of the region's top drug suspect Ricky Serenio will be relieved anytime next week.

Chief Superintendent Renato Gumban, acting regional director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-NIR, said on Wednesday two commissioned officers and 13 non-commissioned officers are included in the latest "narco-list," which he submitted to Director General Ronald de la Rosa, chief of Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame, Wednesday.

He said these "narco-policemen," whose names are withheld in the meantime, will be transferred to Lanao del Sur, Sulu, or Basilan upon the approval of De la Rosa.

More than 50 percent of policemen allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade in the region were already transferred to police offices in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

So far, 40 policemen were already relieved from Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.

More policemen are still reportedly involved in illegal drugs based on the monitoring and validation of PRO-18, Gumban said.

He added that the "narco-policemen" will immediately face administrative charges as directed by the PNP chief.

This is part of the internal cleansing, he added.

Gumban said they have requested the court for the custody of Serenio, who is presently under the safekeeping of Pulupandan Municipal Police Station.

Gumban said Serenio will be detained at the custodial facility of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at the PRO-NIR headquarters if the court will allow the regional office to place him under their custody.

Serenio, who is believed to be the bagman of Berya drug group, was arrested on January 8 at Talisay City when he was served with warrant for grave coercion.