Mandaluyong mayor wants tight screening for city's next top cop

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

August 31, 2023, 5:57 pm

MANILA – Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin Abalos Sr. on Thursday called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to carry out a stringent selection process for the city's new police chief.

In a statement, Abalos welcomed the designation of Col. Mary Grace Madayag as the city's acting police chief, replacing Col. Cesar Gerente.

Gerente tested positive in a random drug test with top officials of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), along with other commanders and chiefs of different offices and support units on Aug. 24.

"We welcome our Officer in Charge Police, Col. Mary Grace Madayag to Mandaluyong City, and at the same time urge our PNP to conduct the strictest of tests and to enforce the highest of standards before presenting us with the names of the next possible candidate for Mandaluyong's Chief of Police in order to avoid a similar issue in the future," the mayor added.

He, meanwhile, said the city supports the conduct of random drug tests as part of efforts to cleanse its ranks of drug users.

"While it is unfortunate that our former Chief of Police, Col. Cesar Gerente, tested positive for drug use, we understand that these surprise drug tests promote the highest standards among our police force," Abalos said.

Gerente has been assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Section under the Regional Personnel and Records Management Division of NCRPO for further investigation on administrative charges.

Following the incident, the NCRPO ordered all 497 personnel of the Mandaluyong City Police Station to submit to a random drug test on Aug. 28, all of whom yielded negative results.

“Finally, we assure the public, especially our dear Mandalenyos, that we in the local government shall continue to strive towards a peaceful, brighter, and more prosperous future for everyone,” he added.

Meanwhile, NCRPO spokesperson Lt. Col. Eunice Salas said two more police officers tested positive for drug use in three random drug tests since last week.

The first test was conducted on Aug. 22 involving 359 police officers of regional headquarters, where one police non-commissioned officer (PNCO) assigned at the NCRPO yielded positive.

Meanwhile, another PNCO tested positive out of the 33 Manila Police District personnel subjected to a surprise drug test on Tuesday.

Salas said those found positive have 15 days to challenge the results of the drug tests.

Police officers caught using illegal drugs face administrative complaints for grave misconduct with a corresponding penalty of dismissal from the service. (PNA)