(Photo courtesy of PNP Public Information Office)

MANILA – A total of 600 third-level officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are set to be vetted by the five-member advisory body that is looking into their courtesy resignations and possible involvement in illegal drugs.

PNP Public Information Office chief Col. Redrico Maranan said the advisory body resumed its formal meeting relative to the evaluation process of senior police officers on Wednesday morning at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said the advisory group started the second meeting with the recap of their Feb. 24 session wherein 118 senior police officials were subjected to a thorough assessment.

“As for today, the 5-man advisory group processed 217 senior police officers after thorough evaluation while the remaining more than 600 are set to be evaluated in the coming weeks either in person or thru video conferencing,” said Maranan, who was also designated as the advisory body's spokesperson.

He said PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., retired police general and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Undersecretary Isagani Nerez, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and retired Court of Appeals Justice Melchor Sadang were present in the meeting.

Maranan said that in effect, the senior officers’ courtesy resignation will be recommended for rejection if the screening process found that there is no record or no information that they have involvement in illegal drugs and that they are suitable to continue their police service.

On the other hand, Maranan said the senior officers who have been found to have derogatory information will be subjected to the next layer of scrutiny by the National Police Commission (Napolcom), and will then be submitted for further validation and investigation.

“The five-man advisory group targets to finish the screening as soon as possible. However, assessment must be done expeditiously, always taking into consideration the objectivity, fairness and due diligence in the conduct of its proceedings,” Maranan said.

Azurin said the advisory group, of which he is a member, agreed to meet twice a week for the screening process.

“We will be meeting twice a week. Ang next meeting namin will be Wednesday and Thursday, 'yun ang napag-usapan namin para mabilis yung pag-evaluate and assess namin sa mga third level officers natin (We will be meeting twice a week, our next meeting will be Wednesday and Thursday, that's what we discussed so that we can quickly evaluate and assess our third level officers),” Azurin told reporters.

Based on the agreement, officials whose resignations would be accepted would be forced to retire, regardless of how long they are supposed to still stay in the PNP.

The mandatory retirement age of uniformed personnel of the PNP is 56 and those who were asked to resign include generals and police colonels, some of whom still have at least eight years in the service.

In the next three months, Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the committee would thoroughly vet police officials and submit the names of those whose resignations are accepted to the Napolcom for another round of verification before submitting their recommendation to the president.

The move aims to cleanse the ranks of officers in the police organization from possible influence or connivance with drug syndicates. (PNA)