THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday ordered the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to probe members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) named by drug kingpin Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. in a Senate inquiry as “protectors” of the illegal drug trade.
“This is a serious matter, and it is incumbent upon the DILG through the Napolcom being the overseer of the PNP to immediately look and check the veracity of the allegations against our ranking police officers,” DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno said in a statement.
Sueno backed the Senate investigation being led by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, saying the probe would eventually shed light on the alleged involvement of some police officers and local officials in drugs.
“We welcome the Senate probe on the issue because we also want to know the truth,” he said.
The DILG chief said he believes only a handful of police officers were involved in the drug trade, and “those rotten eggs do not define the whole PNP organization which lives by the ideals of service, integrity and discipline.”
Sueno said PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa had placed on floating status the Eastern Visayas police officers named by Espinosa in Wednesday’s inquiry of Lacson’s Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
They are confined at the Personnel and Holding and Accounting Unit of the PNP’s Camp Crame headquarters, the DILG said. The PNP Internal Affairs Service is also conducting its own investigation.
At one point during the inquiry, de la Rosa turned emotional and held back tears amid Espinosa’s revelations.
Earlier, Sueno said the arrest of Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan, the former driver-bodyguard and alleged bagman of Sen. Leila de Lima who is being linked by the government to the drug trade at the national penitentiary, would fast-track the investigation of drug-related cases against local officials and other personalities.
Among the names mentioned by Espinosa during the Senate inquiry were Supt. Marvin Marcos, head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas, Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, Chief Insp. Wilfredo Abordo, Police Officer 3 Dennis Torrefiel and Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, former director of the Eastern Visayas police.