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PNP gives 357 cops in ‘narco-list’ option to retire early as adjudication begins

By Aaron Recuenco

Gen. Archie Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), gave the 357 policemen included in President Duterte’s watch list the option to retire early as the one-month adjudication to determine their guilt or innocence started on Monday.

PNP Chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN)

PNP Chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa

Gamboa met with most of the 357 policemen on Friday and explained to them the process of the two-way adjudication to be initiated based on his request to the President to resolve the issue once and for all.

“Before I left, I told them: ‘I am giving you an option and this I will offer only once. If you think you are guilty, you better render your optional retirement. The deadline for this is today (Monday),” said Gamboa in a press briefing at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters at Camp Crame.

As of Monday morning, Gamboa disclosed that only one of the policemen has expressed intention to avail of an early retirement but would not reveal the name as his promise is not to disclose any name of the 357 cops.

Gamboa, however, clarified that optional retirement will not spare the policemen from criminal charges if the adjudication will reveal that they are indeed guilty of being involved in illegal drugs.

He said that optional retirement for those who think they are guilty and will be pinned down in the adjudication process will just be a relief for the PNP since it will mean lesser cases for adjudication.

Gamboa explained that optional retirement for the policemen is a good measure in terms of getting rid of drug-tainted cops as part of the continuing internal cleansing process.

Optional retirement, he explained, is also a good gesture for the policemen who will avail of it since it would probably mean that they want to change and no longer want to be involved in the illegal drugs trade.

The conduct of two-way adjudication is an offshoot of Gamboa’s request to President Duterte to have the PNP deal with the narco-cops on its own. Two-way since the cases would be adjudicated first at the regional and directorial level for one week before the cases go to the national level which will handle the cases for three weeks.

Once all the cases are submitted to the Office of the Chief PNP, Gamboa said it will take him three days before he submits the results of the adjudication to the President for approval.

The names of the 357 policemen came from intelligence reports when the drug war was launched in July 2016. It took more than three years, however, before the cases were acted upon.

The list includes policemen with the rank of Patrolman to Brigadier General, or one star rank. At least two one-star rank officers are reportedly in the list. Some of those in the list are reportedly at the frontline of Duterte’s war on drugs.

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