PNP probes fake full alert memo over 'destablization'

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

January 9, 2023, 3:37 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. on Monday ordered an investigation into the possible lapses over the circulation of a memorandum for a full alert status to foil a supposed destabilization plot of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Definitely, the PRO (Police Regional Office) of Cordillera will be ensuring that an investigation on the one named Dexter, Police Lieutenant Colonel Dexter (Ominga) is ongoing. So that we will determine what was the memorandum that circulated last weekend,” Azurin told reporters in a briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

“The appropriate charges as well as the consequences of the lapses, kung meron man (if any), will be meted to Colonel Dexter,” he added.

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) will also look into the spread of the document on social media.

“The PNP-ACG has initiated its investigation to determine who is the source of the social media post which reported that the PNP was placed on full alert because of a destabilization. Like what the PNP Chief said, whoever is proven guilty to have spread the misinformation will be punished,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said.

Azurin dismissed the reported destabilization plot in the AFP, noting the operation of the PNP, as well as the AFP, is normal, especially at this time when big religious events such as the Feast of the Black Nazarene and the Sinulog Festival in Cebu are being held.

He said he spoke with AFP chief of staff Gen. Andres Centino and they committed to working hand-in-hand to ensure the stability of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“So as far as the destabilization is concerned, I don’t think there is one. He gave the assurance that the PNP and the AFP will work hand in hand in ensuring that the Marcos administration will be very stable,” Azurin said.

He said the photos of Winner B150 helicopter that went viral on social media was undergoing maintenance checkup.

Rumors of the destabilization plot spread during Saturday's turnover of command between Centino and outgoing AFP chief Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro at the military's headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Based on the memorandum that was circulated, all PNP units are to be placed on full alert due to "developing issues in Camp Aguinaldo,” "resignation of all personnel in DND (Department of National Defense)” and "destabilization movements from the AFP."

AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar, however, dismissed the rumors and said the turnover of command finished "smoothly".

AFP officials professional, pro-Constitution

Meanwhile, former PNP chief Panfilo Lacson said the country's military officials are generally loyal to their sworn duty and the Constitution.

This was in response to destabilization rumors that floated following Centino's appointment as military chief, with some Department of National Defense (DND) officials reportedly planning to resign over the matter.

"DND OIC (officer-in-charge) Jose Faustino Jr., newly designated AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Andres Centino and newly retired Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, along with two or three DND undersecretaries, all belong to PMA (Philippine Military Academy) Class 1988. Even among PMA batchmates, sometimes there are dynamics due to personal associations and loyalties that cannot be avoided. There is information though that OIC and Senior DND Undersecretary Faustino mentioned to some close associates as early as last month that he will resign if Lt. Gen. Bacarro will be replaced. That could have probably triggered the rumored 'mass resignation' in the DND," Lacson said.

He said the PNP had clarified the reason for its supposed heightened alert status which rumormongers had used to bolster their claims

"It was for another purpose, not related to any destabilization and the rumored 'mass resignation' of DND officials which as it turned out is just that - rumor," Lacson said.

The PNP earlier said such measures were done to ensure the security for the feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)