NEW Philippine National Police chief General Archie Gamboa on Monday officially assumed his post with an assurance to the public that there would be a more aggressive crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and rogues in uniform by officers who should see to it that their operations will always be in accordance with law.
However, now that the lawyer-member of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 had declared that his main priorities would be fighting drugs and pursuing the massive PNP internal cleansing program, I believe that the new Chief,PNP needs to have a ‘lean but mean’ PNP Drug Enforcement Group and PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group.
Right now, the PNP-DEG and the PNP-IMEG are literally in good hands, the two units respectively being commanded by two members of PMA ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992, Colonels and soon-to-be Brigadier Generals Bong Caramat and Ronald Lee.
Yet, I still believe that the two officials won’t succeed in their mission without the full support of the PNP leadership and the different police regional offices and the public. The two units should also be given adequate surveillance equipment, motor vehicles and firepower and most importantly, the funding they need each time they launch delicate operations to go after ‘high-value targets’ both in drugs and hoodlums in uniform.
It must be understood that the two units have been working well since the time of Gen. Gamboa as PNP-OIC. Let me cite the accomplishments of the PNP-DEG since October last year. During the period, the PNP-DEG had already accounted for nearly P3.4 billion worth of shabu as a result of eight major anti-narcotics operations.
The last major sting conducted by the PNP-DEG was in Imus, Cavite in 2019 was on December 28, the day its agents seized some five kilograms of shabu worth P34 million from a Taguig couple during a buy-bust operation inside a mall in Imus, Cavite.
Last November 26, PNP-DEG agents confiscated some P2.6 billion worth of shabu from a Chinese national and his two Pinoy cohorts. The others were the following: October 17: 100 grams of shabu worth P680,000; October 25: 200 grams of shabu worth P4.420 million; November 4: six kilos of shabu worth P40.8 million; November 27: 17 kilograms of shabu valued at P116 million; November 30: 67 kilos of shabu worth nearly P456 million; and December 4: around P3.060 million worth of shabu.
These major operations which all led to the neutralization of ‘HVTs’ or the so-called ‘big fish’ comes in the wake of Gen. Gamboa’s directive for his station commanders and chiefs of police to go after drug dealers who are distributing over 50 grams of the ‘poor man’s cocaine.’
On Monday, the PNP chief said that members of a drug distribution network smashed by agents of the PNP-DEG over the weekend are being investigated for their suspected links with international drug trafficking rings. The suspects who yielded around 100 million of shabu were found to be operating in southern Metro Manila and Cavite until they were arrested by operatives of the PNP-DEG with the help of the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas.
Gamboa and his PNP-DEG men actually started on the right foot. What they need now is to see to it that the ‘big fish,’ not the small fry will be arrested this time. As Caramat told me: “We are going after the drug lords, the importers, smugglers and manufacturers of shabu in the country now, not only the Filipino couriers who in most cases are only being paid P15,000 to P20,000 for each drug delivery.”
On the other hand, the PNP-IMEG headed by Lee is also partnering closely with the other police regional offices in its effort to account for rogues in uniform as part of the stepped-up internal cleansing program of the police force.
The tough job of ridding the 195,000-strong force of misfits and scalawags happen to be a main concern of the new PNP chief since the entire Filipino nation led by President Duterte is much concerned with the problem. What the PNP needs however is to ensure that the law really will be enforced without fear or favor. It’s really high time for the PNP to ‘eradicate the culture of wrongdoing,” as my fellow transformation advocate, National Police Commission vice chairman, lawyer Roger Casurao had said.
Going after corrupt police personnel remains the job of the PNP-IMEG which is now going not only after policemen in drugs and other criminal activities but also those who are violating strict PNP directives which bars their presence in casinos, cockpit arenas and ‘tupadas’ in the country.
The PNP-IMEG has also partnered with the NCRPO in going after policemen who are using recovered stolen motor vehicles and motorcycles and those who are grossly violating our traffic code including driving without license or using unregistered motor vehicles simply because they think they are policemen who can get away with any offense.
From 2017 to date, he said that they have identified and arrested 17 policemen for committing the offense, one of them already dismissed from the service, one demoted and the others still undergoing administrative proceedings.
Right now, the PNP-IMEG, joined by the PNP Highway Patrol Group headed by Brig. Gen. Dionards Carlos is helping the NCPRO go after police personnel and civilians using stolen or recovered motor vehicles and motorcycles and or violating the traffic code inside all Metro Manila police headquarters and stations. May this be the start of something new when it comes to disciplining the Filipino public, the police in particular. As they always say, you discipline the police and you discipline everybody.