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PNP screens members of new anti-drug unit

The newly created Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Unit has started conducting background checks on all applicants and other would-be anti-narcotics policemen as part of the efforts to shield the unit from scalawag policemen.

Supt. Enrico Rigor, spokesman of the PDEG, said they have started checking the background information of those in the PDEG, applicants, and those being eyed to join the unit.

“We are required to submit our assignment background, including the names of our former commanders just to make sure.

It also includes our pay slip,” said Rigor.

The PDEG is allowed to have 477 personnel but it was not disclosed how many policemen have so far joined as well as the number of applicants.

Rigor said that so far, the PDEG is still a skeletal force and in the process of filling up the needed personnel.

Although it is only allowed to have an initial 477 personnel, PDEG commander Senior Supt. Graciano Mijares said they could tap the local police to serve as their augmentation in intelligence-gathering and the actual operation.

“We are organizing at the regional level down to the police station level. Although they would not be directly under PDEG, we could tap them,” said Mijares.

Mijares said they will conduct background check on their personnel while holding anti-illegal drugs operations to avoid what happened to the defunct Anti-Illegal Drugs Group that had hired personnel with alleged shady reputation.

A member of the AIDG – SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel – was able to pass the basic background check and was absorbed in the unit.

Sta. Isabel, with Supt. Rafael Dumlao, was tagged as the main suspects in the kidnap-slay of South Korean executive Jee Ick Joo in October last year. The South Korean was killed inside Camp Crame, near the AIDG office.

“It is not as stringent as before. It is now continuous, meaning, if along the way we found something suspicious on our personnel, they could still be kicked out (of the PDEG),” said Rigor. (Aaron B. Recuenco)