‘Bato’ says no cover-up on ex-SAF chief’s ‘plunder’


BAGUIO CITY, Benguet: Outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa on Tuesday assured that there will be no attempt to cover up or whitewash a case against former Special Action Force (SAF) director Benjamin Lusad, who is facing plunder charges for allegedly failing to provide the troop’s daily allowance for two years amounting to P58.849 million. According to de la Rosa, Lusad is a “respected member” of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1985 who acted as his “savior” back when he was still a cadet in the academy. He, however, said Lusad must face the corruption allegations without any help from him. “When it comes to corruption, there is no such thing as a savior. You save yourself… There will be no cover-up even if I know Gen. Lusad as a very fine officer with whom I had many shared experiences back in academy days. There is no such thing as family, siblings or company mate when it comes to corruption,” de la Rosa told reporters in Filipino. He admitted that Lusad already talked to him last week about the issues on the unreleased Daily Additional Subsistence Allowance for 2016 and 2017 and said he was not satisfied with his explanation. De la Rosa said he will leave the case with incoming PNP chief Oscar Albayalde. Twelve SAF members filed an eight-page joint complaint on April 12 before the Office of the Ombudsman against Lusad for allegedly committing plunder and malversation of public funds. SAF members are each entitled to have an additional daily subsistence allowance of P30 per day or P900 a month in consideration of the risks they take in their operations. The complainants said they met with Andre Dizon, Lusad former PNP-SAF budget and fiscal officer, last March 27 and April 26 to talk about the issue. Lusad, however, only offered an apology to them in both meetings and said the fund was already used for “operational expenses, fellowships and trainings.” Dizon, Senior Police Officer 2 Maila Bustamante and SPO1 Jack James Irica were also named as Lusad’s co-accused in the complaint.


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