Amid PNP cleansing, 5 Cebu cops leave service

By: Ador Vincent Mayol, Benjie B. Talisic June 19,2017 - 11:04 PM

A hundred people, who were among the 723 arrested in a weeklong campaign of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) called Oplan Silhig, are presented to the media at PRO-7 headquarters in Cebu City.

At least five policemen in Cebu have opted to leave the service in the wake of the internal cleansing in the Philippine National Police.

But Senior Supt. Dennis Agustin, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), deputy director for operations, refused to reveal the names of the policemen in order not to preempt future police operations.

Their ranks ranged from Police Officer 1 to Senior Police Officer 3.

Agustin said the Regional Intelligence Division was investigating the report that they were involved in illegal drugs trade.

If the report was found to be positive, he added these policemen would be arrested.

Last Saturday, operatives arrested two former policemen in separate drug busts in Cebu City. Retired cop Joseph Glenn Burlas, a former member of the anti-illegal drugs and intelligence division of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), was caught allegedly selling illegal drugs to an undercover policeman inside a pension house along Juana Osmeña Street in Cebu City.

On the same day, another former policeman, Aaron Estarte, was arrested in a separate drug bust in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

Agustin said they were hoping to get more information from Burlas and Estarte regarding the illegal drugs operations in Cebu.

Since July 2016, about 200 policemen in Cebu had been relieved from their posts and transferred to other regions.

The orders from Camp Crame did not cite the reasons behind the relief, but these policemen were linked to illegal drugs operation.

But Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, PNP chief, earlier said there was a need to transfer them to another location to disrupt the illegal drugs operation in Cebu and Central Visayas.

Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said the illegal drugs trade in Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas thrived due to the presence of “protectors” in the police and local government units.

“If they (drug lords) do not enjoy protection, they do not have the guts to operate,” he said.

Before he assumed his post last July 4, Taliño said officials in Camp Crame already cautioned him about a number of policemen coddling drug personalities in Cebu.

Upon his assumption in office, Taliño recalled that a police official gave him a lot of information about the illegal drug trade in Cebu while another official gave him another version.

“Para bang nagsisipsip (It seemed they were sucking up to me),” he said.

Confused, Taliño said he validated the reports and found out that one of the police officials, whom he did not identify, was also involved in illegal drugs.

Camp Crame ordered the relief of the police official and transferred him outside the region.

Senior Supt. Eric Noble, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, said he has been reminding policemen who are into illegal drugs to stop their operations.

“Ilang beses ko na sila pinagsabihan pero may mga pasaway pa rin. Tumigil na sila. Huwag na nila hintayin na madakip or worse mapatay sila (I told them many times to stop but still there are those who continue engaging in illegal drugs. They must stop. They should not wait that they would be arrested or worse killed),” he said.

Although he did not have the statistics, Noble said the number of policemen who were into illegal drugs was just a small fraction compared to those who were faithful to the service.

“If you are a policeman, live up to your responsibilities and what the profession expects you to do. If you do otherwise, you can be arrested and you shall face the consequences of your actions. You actually have the choice,” Noble said.

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TAGS: 5, amid, cleansing, cops, leave, PNP, service
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