INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. said Friday, January 13, 2023, that the names of police colonels and generals who will be found linked to the illegal drug trade during the conduct of evaluation by the independent committee will be treated with confidentiality.

In a press conference in Camp Crame, Abalos said there is no need to publicize the names of the police officials whose courtesy resignations will be accepted due to their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“This is a radical move. Kamukha ng sinasabi ko extraordinary times calls for radical and bold actions. This is out of the box, in the same token let's say kung may matanggap kang resignation, let them retire silently,” he said.

“Ngayon if we have enough evidence that would build up criminal cases, pursue them in court as mandated by law. If not, kung wala ka naman ganun katibay pero nakita talagang may involvement, let them retire peacefully,” he added.

Abalos said, however, that monitoring and investigation against them, which may subsequently result in the filing of charges, will continue amid the government’s bid to eradicate the illegal drugs in the country.

As of Friday morning, a total of 904 out of 953 -- with 774 police colonels and 130 generals -- have submitted their courtesy resignation.

PNP spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo said the total number of third-level officials went down from 956 to 953 due to retirement.

Abalos made the call on January 3 after having found, following the arrest of a police anti-drug operative who yielded two kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), that several police officials, occupying key positions in the PNP, were involved in the illegal activity.

PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said at least 10 police officials were on the list but there is no information yet if they have already submitted their courtesy resignation.

A five-man committee composed of honorable individuals, including Baguio City Mayor retired general Benjamin Magalong, will look into the possible involvement of the officials on illegal drugs.

Abalos said the committee will submit to the National Police Commission (Napolcom) the names of the police officials who were found with drug links for another round of scrutiny before forwarding a recommendation to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“I'd rather have one man whose guilty get off the hook than one innocent person be dismissed. Importante sa akin yun, salang sala. So we added one more, Napolcom. So ang mangyayari from this 5 man committee, hahanapin itong let's say na matatanggap na 10. yun lamang 10 yun will undergo another process of review dito sa Napolcom,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)