PNP tightens vetting of cops assigned to anti-drug units

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

May 11, 2023, 3:21 pm

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

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it is tightly screening police officers to be assigned to anti-narcotics units to ensure that they have a clean background.

PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo, said policemen will undergo "proper vetting" before they will be assigned to police units involved in the continuing campaign against illegal drugs.

Ngayon ay pinapapaigting natin yung tinatawag nating na vettting process particularly doon sa mga pulis natin na maa-assign sa mga DEUs (Drug Enforemcent Units) para maiwasan na nga itong mga nakikita at naririnig natin in the past few weeks na involvement ng ibang mga pulis natin (Now we are intensifying what we call the vetting process, particularly among our police officers who will be assigned to DEUs (Drug Enforemcent Units) to avoid what we have seen and heard in the past few weeks about the involvement of our other police officers),” Fajardo said in a TV interview on Thursday.

Fajardo said there is also an ongoing review of the existing policies in the conduct of background investigations.

Yung ating background investigation doon sa mga assigned and even doon sa mga kasalukuyang naa-assign ay dire-diretso pati rin yung conduct ng psycho o neuro examination at even yung mga random drug test ay isasagawa yan to make sure 'yun lamang pong capable at walang bahid ang maa-assign sa mga DEUs ng PNP (Our background investigation on those to be assigned and even those currently assigned will be direct as well as the conduct of psycho or neuro examination and even the random drug tests will be conducted to make sure only those capable and unblemished will be assigned in the DEUs of the PNP),” she said.

More than 40 personnel of the PDEG were disarmed, ordered restricted and are now under investigation over allegations of drug protection racket, pilferage and recycling of confiscated illegal drugs.

“The anti-illegal drug campaign shall be done by ensuring proper vetting of PDEG and Drug Enforcement Unit personnel to make sure that only those who have successfully undergone an honest vetting process will be assigned with anti-illegal drug units,” said PNP chief, Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., in a separate statement.

This came amid recent findings about the involvement of some personnel of the PDEG in illegal drugs.

The strengthened conduct of the vetting process of personnel who will be assigned with PDEG was actually one of the recommendations made by the PNP SITG 990. It proposed the vetting be done by the PNP Intelligence Group and the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group.

Acorda, who used to be the head of the PNP’s Directorate for Intelligence, wants to maximize all the information that must be obtained in ensuring that anti-narcotics personnel of the PNP are all clean.

He said the vetting process will be done from the PDEG down to the station level of drug enforcement units.

Meanwhile, Fajardo said that six cops assigned to PDEG have been relieved due to allegations of kidnapping and torture during a supposed operation in Minglanilla, Cebu province last March 26.

She said the six cops were relieved from PDEG and are currently assigned to the Police Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) and among those who also relieved is their regional chief for failure of supervision.

According to the complainants, the police officers demanded that they surrender the illegal drugs they were allegedly hiding. After more than three hours of alleged interrogation and torture, the police were forced to release the complainants.

Hangga't maaari ay ayaw natin pangalanan yan dahil nai-file na yung kaso at bilang respeto nung privacy nung dalawang tao. Sila ay mga parehong taga Cebu, mag-partner na diumano ay dinukot nga nung Marso 26 nung mga sinasabing suspects na pulis (As much as possible, we don't want to name them because the case has been filed and out of respect for the privacy of the two people. They are both from Cebu, they are partners who was allegedly kidnapped on March 26 by alleged police suspects),” Fajardo said.

On Tuesday, Acorda ordered intensified intelligence monitoring on around 3,000 “erring” police officers in an effort to clear the agency’s name amid the issue of “ninja cops” within its ranks.

Acorda said the derogatory records of these scalawags include involvement in extortion and illegal drugs, among others. (PNA)