PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas is really dead serious in clothing all his 17 Police Regional Office directors with the power to immediately fire policemen under their supervision who will test positive for substance abuse amid complaints that the PNP Internal Affairs Service is taking too long to resolve the cases of identified drug users in the police force, People’s Tonight learned.
The PNP chief made the decision noting that more than 440 policemen have tested positive for illegal drug use since 2016, the year when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a war on drugs and went all-out in going after rogues in uniform specifically the so-called ‘Ninja Cops.’
“I have discussed it with the PNP Internal Affairs Service and gusto ko ay ipa-amend ang directive na i-handle na ng mga regional directors ang drug cases ng mga pulis nila,” the PNP chief told People’s Tonight.
Sinas said he want all policemen who have been reported to be using shabu or marijuana to be immediately tested and dismissed as soon as possible by their respective regional directors in coordination with the Regional IAS.
Sinas said he is speaking based on experience since he used to be the RD of Police Regional Office 7 in Central Visayas and later the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO). He lamented that when he was still the Metro Manila police chief, he discovered that one of his personnel who tested positive for shabu was still receiving his salary.
“Experience ko kasi twice akong naging RD, matagal bago madismiss ang pulis na positive sa drugs. Mga isang taon bago ma-dismiss, yung iba, nag-AWOL na bago lumabas ang decision. Dapat talaga i-file agad ang kaso at i-dismiss agad. Dapat hindi tumatagal ang kaso,” he said.
According to the PNP chief, he also wants all policemen who have been tested positive for illegal drug use to be prevented from filing their resignation papers. “We should not let them resign. Dapat dishonorable discharge sila at baka mag-apply pa sa ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno,” he said.
PNP Crime Laboratory Deputy Director for Operations, Colonel Grace Eustaquio said that in 2020, 46 policemen out of the 173,133 PNP personnel subjected to drug testing were found positive for substance abuse. The official said seven of the 46 tested positive for shabu last November and December.
In 2019, a total of 36 out of the 80,278 policemen tested for drugs were found to be positive for shabu. In 2018, a total of 68 policemen out of the 92,598 PNP personnel subjected to random or mandatory drug testing were found positive for substance abuse.
In 2017, a total of 82 policemen out of the 16,297 personnel tested were found to be positive drug users while in 2016, a total of 206 out of the 164,981 policemen subjected to a drug test were found positive for prohibited substance.
Last week, the PNP chief ordered the conduct of summary hearing procedures against a police major and a non-commissioned officer who tested positive for substance abuse during an initial screening and confirmatory test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory.
“Time and time again, we have stressed that there is no room for drug-using men in police uniform and these two will find themselves dismissed from the police force just like the others who tested positive for drugs last year. We assure the public that we don’t tolerate any of our personnel who are using drugs even if they are police commissioned officers,” the top cop told the Journal Group.
The PNP chief said that Major Jivertson Pelovello, the chief of the Zamboanga City Police Office Drug Enforcement Unit was found to be using drugs during an initial screening conducted by members of the Regional Crime Laboratory Office 9 on local policemen last December 18.
The police official had been stripped of his issued firearm and relieved from his present assignment and reassigned to the PRO9 Regional Personnel Holding and Administrative Unit while the administrative charges against him for grave misconduct is being heard.
Sinas also ordered the conduct of summary dismissal proceedings against Master Sergeant Edherson Quijano, a member of the Regional Training Center 4-A of the National Police Training Unit based in Laguna after he tested positive for shabu during an initial screening and a confirmatory test.
A graduating cadet and a civilian band member of the PNP Academy, and a police corporal in CARAGA region are also under investigation after testing positive for drug use during recent random testing.
Two other members of the Calabarzon police force also tested positive for shabu last week. The two were identified as Staff Sergeant Emil Janairo, a desk officer of the Calamba City Police Station in Laguna who tested positive for shabu last January 4; and Patrolman Lordson Custodio of the Candelaria Municipal Police Station in Quezon who tested positive for shabu last week.
People’s Tonight earlier reported that a member of the Police Regional Office 13 (PRO13) in Caraga region became the 1st member of the PNP who will undergo summary dismissal proceedings this year after he tested positive for shabu during a mandatory drug test last week.
Corporal John Rey Ibasco, assigned with the PRO13 Regional Logistics and Research Development Division was found positive for shabu during an initial screening and a confirmatory test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory, said Sinas.
Thus, the Caraga policeman went on record to be the 1st member of the PNP to test positive for substance abuse since 2021 started. In 2020, a total of 47 policemen were found positive for shabu and are now undergoing summary dismissal proceedings.
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.
The PNP chief said that 49 policemen have also tested positive for shabu from January to date, 18 of them from the PNP National Headquarters and 20 from the NCRPO.