Philippine Military Academy Class 1986 member Gen. Roel Obusan retires

November 20, 2018

MY good friend, lawyer-Police Director Roel Obusan retired after more than 36 years of outstanding service in the military and police service yesterday, making him the 11th member of the illustrious Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 to retire from the service since the start of the Duterte presidency.

As I have said in a column many months ago, since President Duterte won the presidency in 2016, there were only 251 remaining Peemayers or graduates of the elite PMA  in the Philippine National Police with 28 of them led by another member of PMA Class 1986, former PNP chief-turned 2019 senatorial candidate Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa already retired or are set to retire before the end of this year.

There are 35 members of PMA Class 1986 in the PNP and 13 of them have either retired or are retiring before the end of the year. As of yesterday, 11 have retired already, the latest of them Obusan of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. The others are Generals dela Rosa, Eddie Benigay, Ding Acio, my neighbor Omar Buenafe, Valfrie Tabian, Charlo Collado, Doy Trampe, Tony Gardiola and Joel Garcia and Supt. Joselio Imperial who retired last July 30.

However, the retirement of Obusan et al has not dampened the hold of members of PMA Class 1986 in the PNP as they still remain a force to reckon with in the force considering that the Chief is their classmate, Gen. Oscar Albayalde who is currently attending an Interpol assembly in Dubai.

Members of Gen. Albayalde’s Command Group are also from PMA Class 1986: Deputy Director Generals Jojo Mendez (Deputy Chief for Administration), Archie Gamboa (Deputy Chief for Operations) and  Pikoy Cascolan (The Chief Directorial Staff).

Key officers of the PNP also belong to PMA Class 1986 including Director Joevic Ramos (Logistics); Director Chen Purugganan (Comptrollership); Director Edwin Roque (Plans); Director Lyndon Cubos (Personnel and Records Management); Director Elmo Sarona (Investigation and Detective Management) and Obusan’s successor at the CIDG, incoming Director Amador Corpus, the erstwhile Police Regional Office 3 director in Central Luzon.

Others are Chief Superintendent Noel Baraceros (Center for Police Strategy Management); Chief Supt. Ted Carranza (RD, Region 4-A); Chief Supt. Ely Rasco (RD, Region 12); Chief Supt. Tim Pacleb (RD, Region 10); Chief Supt. Joemar Espino (RD, Region 2); incoming Director Rey Biay (Civil Security Group); and my teammate from the PNP Executive Basketball Team, Chief Supt. Egay Gonzales (Intelligence Group).

Others are Chief Supts. Noli Romana, Mariel Magaway, Rex Acabado (the head of PNP-SOSIA); Marlon Ganzon, Ato Angara, Marlon Ganzon and Elpidio Gabriel who will retire this coming December 26 as PNP Training Service director.

Back to Gen. Obusan, many will surely miss the brilliant lawyer-adviser of many police generals including PNP chiefs.  A number of PNP chiefs and other senior generals retired or will retire without any charges and the possibility of ending up in jail, thanks largely to the work done by Obusan when he was still the head of the Secretariat of the PNP Bids and Awards Committee.

I still remember those days when Roel and I would spend some time in his small office at the Highway Patrol Group, having a simple lunch or drinking coffee while talking endlessly. He, Tony Gardiola and another PMA Class 1986 member, the brave lawyer-Senior Supt. Eleuterio ‘Gutzie’ Gutierrez were my best friends in the PNP-HPG during those days.

I can still remember when Roel, I and a common friend, United Daily News publisher Jimmy Cheng talked on how we can help Gutierrez when he was shot in the head during an infamous HPG-NCRPO anti-criminality operation in Parañaque City. I won’t give further details but Yes, Obusan and his classmates took good care of Gutzie Boy.

Obusan is a veteran police investigator and graft-buster who helped solve many major crimes in the country and jail countless law offenders including the so-called ‘big fishes’ since the beginning of his career as an officer of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary before he joined the PNP in 1991. I will always remember him too as the only police general who did not get the services of an Inspector or a Police Inspector as his aide. Instead, he relied on a more reliable ‘Sergeant Roldan’ as his aide-de-camp thru the years.

Under him, the PNP-CIDG investigated and solved dozens of big-time criminal cases including murders of politicians which turned out to be either politically-motivated or due to other reasons; economic sabotage and drug trafficking.

The PNP-CIDG was behind the filing of the criminal charges against suspected Central Visayas drug lord Peter Lim which was dismissed by the Department of Justice during the time of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III.

I can still remember the massive uproar on the controversial DOJ decision after I exposed it ilast January. Those articles triggered a series of  media follow-ups and prompted a Palace investigation on the OJ reversal of its previous resolution and its re-investigation. Eventually, the DOJ recommended the filing of drug trafficking charges against Lim and company. Lim luckily remained at-large as of today.

Obusan also made a record of sorts when he became the 1st PNP-CIDG director to be granted a subpoena power by the law which allowed him to compel all ‘persons of interest’ in a specific crime including politicians and other VIPs to report to the CIDG for a formal investigation.

In the past, ‘persons of interest’ in a crime usually ignore a request from the PNP-CIDG to appear for an investigation. This time, the PNP-CIDG director, his Deputy and the Chief,PNP have been granted subpoena powers that will help the PNP dig deeper into any investigation of a celebrated crime or cases of economic sabotage and plunder.

Obusan, a native of Pangasinan is also a former Nueva Ecija police and PNP-HPG official who went on to become a provincial director of far-flung Surigao del Sur. He went on to be assigned to different PNP units including the Police Security and Protection Group, the PNP Legal Service and the PNP-BAC Secretariat where he made sure that all PNP procurements are in order. Happy birthday and happy retirement day my friend. I’m praying all the best for you and your family.