By ANTONIO P. RIMANDO
CAMP ROMEO ABENDAN, Mercedes, Zamboanga City—The Philippine National Police (PNP) dismissed from the service 15 of 31 policemen in Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) who tested positive for illegal drugs use during a series of month-long random drug examinations.
Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, Police Regional Office (PRO) 9 director, told local mediamen that of the remaining 16 other erring law enforcers, “five were ready for declaration, seven were under summary hearing, two were on pre-charge trial, and two others have applied for optional retirement.”
He said aside from the 31 who were tested positive, 11 others have been arrested in anti-drug operations since January.
The random drug testing is compulsory “on each and every law enforcer regardless of their rank and position in our area of responsibility,” Licup stressed.
Records of PRO9 also showed two policemen — Police Officer 3 Ronald Bernardo and PO2 Maria Oliver Olaso, both assigned with the drug enforcement team, — were reportedly involved in the illegal drug trade and killed during separate stings in Zamboanga City.
The Zamboanga City Police Office said its anti-drug campaign resulted in the arrest of over 1,200 people from January to October.
PRO 9 covers the provincial commands of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte, and its component cities of Zamboanga, Dipolog, Pagadian, Dapitan, and Isabela (Basilan).
President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier ordered all PROs in the country to take appropriate actions against PNP personnel involved in various illegal drug activities.
The President, who publicly pronounced that, “I hate drugs,” warned all “ninja” policemen, meaning those involved in illegal drugs, of liquidation to cleanse the PNP of scalawags.
On Monday, the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force operatives conducted a buy-bust against Supt. Santiago YlananRapiz, earlier named in the list of “ninja” policemen, which resulted in a running gun battle in Dipolog City.
Rapiz, logistics officer of the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office, was slain after he engaged his colleagues to a gunfight as he tried to escape before handing over the shabu to a poseur-buyer near the compound of a local college.
He was previously assigned in his home province in Negros Occidental where he was found to possess several cars during a lifestyle check. He was also reported to be the protector of slain alleged drug lord Melvin Odicta of Iloilo./The Manila Times