A TOTAL of 47 policemen who tested positive for substance abuse in 2020 have been stripped of their government-issued firearms and badges and are now facing dismissal from the forces, Philippine National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas said.
The 25th PNP chief likewise assured the public anew that there is no room for drug-using policemen in the country and said those who will be found using illegal substance and involved in other drug-related activities will find themselves facing the full brunt of the law.
Just like what he did when he was still the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, the 25th PNP chief wants a continuing random drug testing of his men as part of his effort to ferret out the ‘inept, corrupt and undisciplined’ members of the force.
Sinas became known for summoning officers and men of a particular NCRPO district or unit in a building and ordering his men to close all entrance and exit doors so that all persons inside can be subjected to a drug test.
The practice had resulted in the identification of a number of police uniformed and non-uniformed personnel who were using shabu and other prohibited drugs.
Last week, the Journal Group learned that a 41-year old policeman from Central Visayas became the 47th member of the PNP to test positive for substance abuse in 2020 and thus will be undergoing summary hearing procedure after being disarmed by his superiors.
According to the PNP chief, Corporal Manuel Paez of the PRO7 Recruitment and Selection Service tested positive for shabu during an initial screening of his urine specimen. A confirmatory test using the PNP Crime Laboratory’s GCSM machine yielded the same positive result, Sinas said.
Following the release of the positive drug result, Paez was stripped of his PNP-issued firearm and badge and was relieved from his unit and transferred to the PRO7 Personnel Holding and Administrative Unit.
Sinas ordered the PNP Internal Affairs Service to fast-track the conduct of pre-charge investigation and summary hearing procedure on the accused.
According to PNP Recruitment and Selection Service director, Colonel Nora Camarao, she was ordered by Sinas to conduct a mandatory drug test on all policemen assigned to RSS Units across the country last December 17.
The PNP chief said those who failed to submit themselves to a drug test last December 17 will be facing charges for gross insubordination and will be relieved from their posts.
Camarao said that past 10 a.m. last December 17, Paez and his colleagues were ordered to submit their urine specimens before the Regional Crime Laboratory 7 in Cebu City. All but Paez tested negative for shabu and marijuana during the test, she said.
Prior to the release of Paez’s drug test result, the PNP chief said 46 policemen have also tested positive for shabu from January to date, 18 of them from the PNP National Headquarters and 20 from the National Capital Region Police Office.
He said that latest to test positive for substance abuse were five members of the PNP Special Action Force he identified as Patrolmen Alejandro Espina, Joshua Gaico, Karl del Castillo, Ronel Vista and Bernard Poe Diego.
Two others from the NCRPO identified as Master Sergeant Leonardo Mariano Jr. and Patrolman Ferdinand Nicomedes also turned out to be positive for shabu use during initial screening and a follow-up confirmatory test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory headed by Brigadier Gen. Steve B. Ludan.
Sinas said he has ordered a thorough investigation into the cases of the five SAF troopers. “We’re conducting an assessment on this. What really happened at bakit limang patrolman ang agad nag-positive for drugs,” he said.
The PNP chief has also ordered the revitalization of the different PNP drug enforcement units in order for them to focus their sights on so-called ‘high-value targets/individuals’ and in the identification and neutralization of the remaining ‘Ninja/Narco-Cops’ as well as their networks.
He also ordered his trusted men to ensure that their DEUs will be manned by personnel with no reported or suspected involvement in illegal drugs to ensure their integrity. At the same time, he ordered a strict vetting of all anti-narcotics agents.
“We are further strengthening our disciplinary mechanism and penalize erring policemen as we implement a strict ‘No-Take Policy’ on illegal funds from drug lords, gambling lords and other illegal sources of fund,” Sinas said.
He assured the citizenry that any member of the PNP who will be involved in corrupt practices will not be tolerated and will be investigated and dismissed immediately from the police force if found guilty.
Once dismissed from the PNP, these policemen will also lose all their retirement benefits and other remunerations apart from facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Sinas has ordered his intelligence units and the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group in investigating all members of the force who will be found to be using illegal drugs. “I want to identify the fellow drug users of these policemen,” said Sinas.
NCRPO director, soon-to-be Major Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. is already fully enforcing what Sinas had done against rogues in uniform in Metro Manila.
The policemen tested positive during an initial screening test and a later confirmatory test. They were ordered subjected to a pre-charge investigation and summary hearing procedures in preparation for their dismissal from the police force.
These erring policemen tested positive for methamphetamine abuse during a surprise drug test and later, in a confirmatory test using the PNP Crime Laboratory’s GCMC machine or Gas Chromatography Spectrometer Equipment, said Sinas, himself a former PNP Crime Lab director.