Malacañang yesterday said that it will leave it to investigators to probe a Bacolod City official “already on the drug watch list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)”.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night told the media that Bacolod City Councilor Ricardo “Cano” Tan was the drug lord being protected by sacked Bacolod Police director, Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo.
“The investigator will be doing that, not us,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing when asked if charges will be filed against Tan.
Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, yesterday said the PNP has started its investigation of Ebreo and the four Bacolod policemen sacked by Duterte for allegedly allowing the proliferation of drugs in Bacolod City.
Duterte on Wednesday tagged Ebreo as a “protector” of drug syndicates recalling the time when the relieved cop visited Tan at the Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital in Bacolod City in December after he and his wife survived an ambush.
“And you know there was this – si Cano, a councilor who has been tagged by the PDEA almost a decade ago, to be engaged in trafficking, na-ambush (was ambushed),” Duterte said.
Tan has repeatedly denied being involved in the drug trade.
Meanwhile, Albayalde said the order of the President to investigate the five Bacolod policemen came after his meeting with them in Malacañang on Tuesday.
The five officials denied the allegations against them.
“Of course, they denied it. That is the reason why the President said that we should conduct a full-blown investigation here and if they will be found guilty, they will be discharged from the service,” Albayalde said.
The country's top cop, however, clarified that the relief of Ebreo and the four other police officers did not mean that they are already guilty.
The four others are Supt. Allan Macapagal, deputy city director for operation; Supt. Ritchie Yatar, chief of City Mobile Force Company; Supt. Nassrudin Tayuan, former team leader of the City Drug Enforcement Unit; and Senior Insp. Victor Paulino, former chief of Police Station 3, who was re-assigned to the City Mobile Force Company last month.
He said the policemen will be given due process and clarified that their relief is pending the result of an investigation that is administrative in nature.
"PRRD gave the police officers a dressing down and castigated them for allowing the proliferation of illegal drugs to persist in Bacolod,” Panelo said of their meeting with the president.
“The President particularly expressed his frustration as to why they had no knowledge about the presence of certain personalities in Bacolod who are involved in the illegal drug industry,” he added.
He reiterated that the President’s move to fire the Bacolod cops should serve as a warning to other cops that Duterte will not tolerate law enforcement officials involved in the drug trade.
“This swift action of the President is a timely warning to other PNP officers that the President will not tolerate incompetence and inefficiency in the police force, especially with respect to the Administration’s crusade versus illegal drugs,” Panelo said.*PNA
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