HE PRAISED President Rodrigo Duterte’s bravery in revealing the names of five police generals who allegedly protected drug traders, but Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas also urged the public not to condemn them immediately.
“I would like that they should be given their day in court because they built their military and police careers, and I think that’s the least that the President can do. Affected kaayo ang ilang honor, career and family (This has really affected their honor, career and family),” Gullas said.
“Aduna baya’y daghan tawo nga magpakamatay kung madishonor (There are many people who would end their lives if they are dishonored).”
One of the five, retired Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr. denied the accusation, according to a gmanetwork.com report.
“I cannot blame the President for making such an announcement. But I assure him and the Filipino people that he (Duterte) was fed with wrong and poisonous information,” said Garbo. “It’s a sad day for people who believe in good governance, righteousness and integrity.”
During the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force last Tuesday, President Duterte identified the five generals as Garbo, who retired a few months ago; Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot, who retired in July 2016; and active Chief Supts. Bernardo Diaz, Edgardo Tinio, and Joel Pagdilao.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Acting Director Noli Taliño said the organization will investigate the alleged connections of Garbo and Loot, if Camp Crame asks them to do so.
The police official added they will “probably” publicize the names of police officials involved in the illegal drug business in “due time,” after validation.
Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas, the Police Retirement Benefit Service acting director, said that if Diaz, Tinio and Pagdilao opt to retire early, the three officials can still claim their benefits, as long as there are no pending cases against them.
Bañas, also a former PRO 7 director, said these police officials still have to get clearances from the new PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, and other offices in Camp Crame.
Bañas denied the accusation he was one of the protectors of suspected drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz.
During his stint as PRO 7 director from May 2014 until December 2015, Bañas saw the arrests of 6,679 drug personalities and confiscation of P307.2 million worth of illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he might stop pursuing his campaign against illegal drugs and leave it all up to the PNP.
“I’m not doing this for myself. I’m doing this for the people. But if there’s going to be this kind of suspicion and things like that, I’ll just withdraw everything. Sila na ang bahala (It’s up to them),” he said.
Osmeña has pledged to give the police P50,000 for every drug pusher or suspected drug pusher that they kill.
The mayor, however, has said that if he had his way, he’d like for former Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Patrocinio Commendador to remain in his post.
Osmeña had recommended Commendador and Cebu City Police Office Director Supt. Benjamin Santos for their respective assignments.
Under Commendador’s leadership, Cebu’s suspected top drug personalities Diaz, Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria and David Anunciado were killed in a shootout with PRO 7 personnel in the past two months.
“This (Commendador and Santos) is a good working team because they got the biggest drug lords around. But if it’s going to be like this, I think I’ll just stop. I hope it won’t affect (the campaign),” he said.
He said he learned of Commendador’s relief a month ago and appealed to PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, and the latter told him he would give the former PRO 7 chief 90 days.
Despite this, Osmeña said he will give new PRO 7 Director Noli Taliño a chance as he sees the officer as a “good guy.”
Taliño went to his residence in Barangay Guadalupe yesterday for a courtesy call on the mayor.
“Only a bullet can stop me,” Osmeña said. “But if that’s the condition, I might as well focus my energy on other problems like drainage and traffic. What’s the point?”
He pointed out that some police and government officials, including those in the barangay level, who have been protecting drug peddlers and users are among the factors the drug trade has thrived.
“Daghan kaayo og ingun ana sa (There are a lot of that in Barangays) Pasil, Suba ug (and) Ermita. Look at Ermita’s Yawa. They say they don’t know where they are. Would you believe that?” Osmeña said.