PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa yesterday said he has given 357 policemen identified in President Duterte’s list of policemen allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade the option to go on early retirement.
However, Gamboa said anyone of the narco-cops who will grab the chance will still not be off the hook.
In a press briefing, Gamboa said he met with the alleged erring cops, whose rank ranges from patrolman to brigadier general, in Camp Crame last Friday to inform them that the President has given the PNP the liberty to “investigate, adjudicate and validate” the information against them.
“Before I left, I told them I am giving them the option, and this I will only offer once: kung sa tingin niyo guilty kayo at hindi kayo makakalusot (if you know that you are guilty and there is no way out for you), you better render your optional retirement. The deadline for that is today (Monday),” Gamboa said.
But Gamboa said leaving the police force earlier than their compulsory retirement age does not mean that the police officers will no longer be charged for their involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
“So kung hindi ka mag-optional retirement at guilty ka talaga, then pasensyahan tayo (If you do not avail of this optional retirement and you are guilty, then I am sorry). But of course, if you are innocent you don’t have to render optional retirement,” he also said.
One of the narco-cops has allegedly already signified his intention to go on early retirement but the PNP chief declined to name the policeman.
“Hindi naman siguro ibig sabihin na guilty siya or what but it’s just a gesture para siguro hindi na magulo ang PNP, hindi na mag-pagod (It does not automatically mean that he is guilty or what, but maybe it’s just a gesture so there will be less hassle in the PNP, so the investigators will no longer waste their efforts),” he said.
Gamboa said going on early retirement is a “good option” for the supposed narco-cops, in particular, and the PNP as a whole, pointing out that the bad eggs will no longer cause a problem within the police institution and will even help “fix its image.”
“Kung guilty talaga kayo, hindi ba kayo nako-konsensya na tumatangap kayo ng sweldo sa gobyerno (If you are guilty, don’t you feel embarrassed that you are still getting paid by the government)?” asked Gamboa.
Gamboa said the policemen will face adjudication boards at the local and then at the national level for at least three weeks. Results of the adjudication process will be reviewed by the PNP chief before he makes his recommendation to Duterte.
Gamboa admitted, though, that the PNP so far lacks evidence to prove these policemen are involved in illegal drugs.
“Kung meron kaming basehan to file case against them, hindi na dapat sila nilista, kinasuhan na sana sila (If we have evidence against them, they will no longer be included in the list but would have already been charged). If they are confirmed (and they did not go on early retirement), we won’t have any second thoughts on pursuing them. This (early retirement) is giving them a very good option,” he said.