THE NATIONAL Police Commission (Napolcom) and the Philippine National Police have filed criminal complaints against 50 cops linked to the P6.7 billion worth of drugs seized in Manila last year, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
At a livestreamed press conference, Interior Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., who chairs the Napolcom, said the complaints were based on security camera footage of police officers allegedly attempting to steal 42 of the 990 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, known in the Philippines as shabu.
“The Napolcom and the (police) Special Investigation Task Group have gone through everything — the testimonies, the evidence, and many things were seen here,” Mr. Abalos Jr. said in mixed English and Filipino.
The complaints were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on June 9. It involves malversation of public property, violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Dangerous Drugs Act.
The officers will also face administrative cases such as grave misconduct and neglect of duty, which could lead to their dismissal and forfeiture of benefits, he added.
Mr. Abalos said filing the cases was part of his agency’s efforts to weed out erring cops and restore the police force’s image.
Last month, national police chief General Benjamin C. Acorda, Jr. said cops arrested 24,197 suspects in more than 18,000 anti-illegal drug raids this year.
Law enforcers had seized this year around $110 million or about P6.16 billion worth of illegal drugs as of May 27.
Mr. Acorda Jr. told a news briefing on May 29 that the agency would continue investigating cops to ensure they remain clean.
“We will continue vetting and investigating the backgrounds of our drug enforcement officers to make sure that none of them turn to the wrong path,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
That same month, Mr. Abalos said a five-man advisory panel had recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against four senior police officers over their alleged ties to the illegal drug trade.
He earlier called on all colonels and generals to resign after a probe found many top police officers were involved in illegal drugs. Almost a thousand senior police officers had submitted their courtesy resignations, Mr. Abalos told a news briefing on May 8. — John Victor D. Ordoñez