NOW I’m really confused. Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, the Bacolod City police chief, was fired after President Rodrigo Duterte accused him of involvement in illegal drugs.
Well, true, as attested by Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office-Western Visayas. He commended Ebreo in June 2018 for a successful anti-drug operation.
Bulalacao beamed, “I am happy with what happened. Our city police director is showing that he deserves to be here. Our police here are inspired to do their job.”
The PRO-Western Visayas chief added, “This means that whoever you are, whether you’re a former policeman or still in the service, if you’re involved in illegal activities, especially drugs, you will end up like what happened to (Dollosa).”
As reported by the Philippines News Agency, Richard Dollosa was killed in a shootout during a drug bust conducted by operatives of the Bacolod Police’s City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) in June 2018.
Bulalacao said Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde also congratulated the police officers in Bacolod for the achievement.
“When I received the text message from Francis (Ebreo), I immediately submitted it to the chief PNP and he answered, ‘Congratulations.’ Meaning, he is happy that my subordinate unit commanders are reacting.”
Now President Duterte has downgraded Ebreo from hero to zero. Albayalde was, however, confused too. A perplexed Director General admitted Ebreo is neither in the police’s drug watchlist nor in the President’s. “As far as I am concerned, wala.”
Was Ebreo in the President’s own watchlist, which is prepared by his office with the help of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the PNP. “Wala rin,” Albayalde said.
Asked how the President was able to get information on Ebreo without the police service knowing, Albayalde said Duterte has his own sources that they cannot question.
Four intelligence units validate the narco-roster: the PDEA’s in-house team, the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group, the Intelligence Service-Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. The PNP uses its Counterintelligence Task Force, its “internal cleansing” unit, to monitor suspicious cops before any action is taken against them. Ebreo’s name was in none of them.
Senator Panfilo Lacson put it, the only true validation is the filing of cases that will stand in court. “The purpose of an intelligence report is to discreetly build up a case against the subject, not forewarn or publicly humiliate him.”
But the President accused Ebreo not in a court of law but in the court of public opinion. The President has humiliated a publicly acclaimed police director. But the deed is done. Ebreo has been demonized and other police directors demoralized.