Some 600 ranking police officials out of nearly 1,000 have submitted their courtesy resignations, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said on Monday.
In a press briefing, Azurin said more officials are signifying their commitment to heed the appeal of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. to rid the police force of misfits and those with links to illegal drugs.
He added that their commander-in-chief, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., has also expressed his full support for this initiative.
Meanwhile, Azurin said Police Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. would head the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), trading places with Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee, who would become the deputy for the Directorate for Intelligence.
“As of Sunday, we were able to account for more or less 500 to close to 600, as reported from the different regions. Some of these documents are en route here at the national headquarters and these would be collated and submitted to the five-man committee that will be formed by no less than our commander-in-chief,” Azurin added.
A total of 956 police officials, composed of generals and full-fledged colonels, are expected to file their courtesy resignations.
Azurin reiterated that the process is being done to ensure that the next-in-line officers or those holding key positions are free of any type of accusations about involvement in illegal drugs.
The top police official in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and 15 police colonels tendered their courtesy resignation in support of the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) effort to cleanse the PNP of scalawags.
“I know, everyone was taken by surprise, but that was the appeal to all of us police generals and colonels and in support, we heeded the call to tender our courtesy resignation,” Brig. Gen. John Guyguyon, BARMM police director, said Monday.
Guyguyon said his and his subordinates’ decision to tender their resignations Sunday was to show commitment and cooperation with the ongoing PNP internal cleansing program.
At the same time, 21 police colonels and a brigadier general in the Police Regional Office in the Caraga Region (PRO-13) tendered their courtesy resignations as well.
In an earlier statement Sunday, the senior police officers in the region, led by PRO-13 Director Brig. Gen. Pablo Labra II, said they are also ready to face the process of cleansing the ranks of the PNP to free the organization from “all accusations and doubts.”
Last week, retired police general and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was named as one of the five members of the committee that will scrutinize the records of police officials.
Azurin, who has also tendered his courtesy resignation, said they are expecting fairness and professionalism from the panel.
“We are talking here of the careers of senior officers of the PNP who worked very hard in the last 30 years or more of their service,” he said.
Azurin said he will not be spared from the probe even after he retires in April this year.
DILG officials said they were working on what to do with police officials who will not file their courtesy resignation in connection with the government’s internal cleansing effort, even as Abalos praised the commitment of Azurin and other top police officials who had complied with his call.