By AARON RECUENCO
Gen. Archie Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), gave the 357 policemen included in President Duterte’s watchlist the option to retire early as the one-month adjudication to determine their guilt or innocence started.
Gamboa met with most of the 357 policemen on Friday and explained to them the two-process of adjudication that would be initiated based on his request from the President to resolve the issue once and for all.
“Before I left, I told them: ‘I am giving option and this I will offer 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 has expressed intention to avail of early retirement but would not reveal the name as his promise is not to disclose any name of the 357 cops.
But Gamboa was quick to clarify that optional retirement would not spare the policemen from criminal charges if the adjudication would reveal that they are indeed guilty of being involved in illegal drugs activities.
He said that the 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 would 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 would avail it since it would probably mean that they want to change and no longer want to be involved in illegal drugs trade.
The conduct of two-way adjudication is an offshoot of Gamboa’s request to 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 would go to the national level which would handle the cases for three weeks.
Once all the cases were submitted to the Office of the Chief PNP, Gamboa said it would take him three days before he submit the results of the adjudication to the President for approval.
The names of the 357 policemen cropped up based on intelligence reports when the drug war was launched in July 2016. It took more than three years, however, before the cases were acted upon.
But Gamboa explained that the names of the 357 cropped up at the course of the three-year period.
The list includes policemen with the rank from 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.