Abalos Plans To Restructure PNP To Rebuild Image, Reputation

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) will undergo a “restructuring” after high-ranking officials turned in their courtesy resignations as part of the government’s drive to cleanse its ranks of “bad eggs.”

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. made this announcement Tuesday, saying his office will conduct a review of its structure.

“Now we see the reforms that we have to do. Let’s look also at the legal side. Let’s review the institution [and] the structures,” Abalos said. “We will ask what we should change to the structure itself. Why did we end up like this?”

A DILG insider told Manila Standard that Abalos felt that if the PNP generals and full colonels resign, the police force could “start with a clean slate and will be able to erase all doubts from the public and rebuild its image and reputation.”

PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. earlier said they will institute a massive restructuring in the ranks of the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (IAS), Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) and Drug Enforcement Group (DEG).

These offices, Azurin said, are the frontline units of the PNP in their internal cleansing program and campaign against the illegal drug trade.

He said the program will take effect after the five-man panel formed by Abalos finishes its evaluation and review of the records and status of the resigned police officials.

The results of the evaluation will be submitted to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Abalos recently said that accepted resignations would mean early retirement for those who were found connected with illegal drugs and cases will be pursued if there is enough evidence against them.

He guaranteed that the probe would be independent and impartial as it would go through two rounds of review, one by the five-man advisory group led by retired police general and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and another by the National Police Commission, which will review the group’s recommendations. He added that they aim to finish the investigation in three months.

So far, none of the other four panel members has been identified but Abalos said they would be of “impeccable credibility and integrity.”

On Monday, Azurin said only 11 senior police officials had not submitted their courtesy resignations.

Eight colonels and three brigadier generals have until Jan. 31 to submit their courtesy resignations, Azurin said in a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Maybe they are still trying to discern whether they should submit their resignations so close to retirement, he said.

Azurin said as of Jan. 20, the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management discipline, law and order division has received the courtesy resignation of 942 senior PNP officers from a total of 953 third-level police officials.

Azurin said the PNP is off to a strong start in the national campaign against illegal drugs this year.

He said the first 16 days of 2023 are highlighted by the seizure of more than P81 million worth of illegal drugs during 1,831 police operations.

In the same period, he said 2,518 drug offenders were arrested, 146 of whom are high-value targets.

“I would like to point out that anti-illegal drugs operations are among the priority operational thrusts of the PNP this year with greater emphasis on demand reduction efforts through rehabilitation, treatment, and training while simultaneously staging intelligence-driven operations in supply reduction by hitting hard on big-time drug syndicates and big personalities engaged in large-scale drug trafficking,” he said.

Azurin also said the peace and order indicator for the first 21 days of this year generally decreased by 23.66 percent or 8,391 incidents from 10,991 incidents for the same period last year.

He added the index crimes went down by nearly 30 percent or from 2,250 cases from Jan. 1 to 21 last year to 1,576 this year.

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