THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Sunday clarified that it remained supportive of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs but the Philippine National Police (PNP) should stop its erring personnel from using the war on drugs as a front for their illegal activities.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, made the clarification after news reports came out that the group has asked the PNP leadership to suspend the drug war over incidents of alleged planting of drug evidence by some police officers.
“We are all for the continuous operation of the campaign against illegal drugs. However, we also want to see the PNP focus on the cleansing of its rank and file,” Jimenez told The Manila Times in an interview.
He noted that PNP chief Ronaldo de la Rosa should go after erring police officers who are using the legitimate drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte as a cover for their extortion activities. He said the gains of the PNP and the government in the war on illegal drugs would be wasted if the illegal operation of unscrupulous members of the police force continues.
“What the PNP needs to do is to continue cleansing its ranks by strengthening the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the police force,” Jimenez said.
He added that even with the appointment of a non-PNP member as head of the IAS, the service is not independent from the director general of the PNP.
Also, Jimenez stressed the need to increase IAS personnel in order to speed up the disposition of cases filed against police officers
The IAS is tasked to investigate police officers and men accused of violating PNP procedures and regulations. It has the authority to suspend, dismiss and recommend the filing of criminal charges against PNP personnel. It is headed by Alfegar Triambulo, a former official of the National Police Commission.
But Jimenez noted that an independent IAS is not enough to weed out erring personnel since the service is part of the long process of cleansing.
The VACC head said a special court should handle all cases against police personnel, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation and even military personnel.
“Police and other law enforcers are different from ordinary citizens. They took an oath to serve and protect and they should be punished if they break their oath,” Jimenez pointed out.
He said police officers should be immediately suspended once a case is filed against them. The court should finish the proceedings and come up with a verdict in two years or less, Jimenez added.