Pimentel defends Duterte’s public announcement of 5 police generals linked to illegal drugs

MANILA – Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte did not violate due process when he announced publicly the names of five police officials allegedly protecting drug syndicates.

”President did not violate due process. It was the duty of the President to have these PNP (Philippine National Police) generals investigated,” Pimentel said in a text message to the Senate media.

Pimentel, president of President Duterte’s political party Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said the public announcement was just like an order in writing to have the five generals investigated by the National Police Commission (Napolcom).

”He could have given the order in writing but then that would still be a public document and still can be reported on by the media. Instead he gave a verbal order in a public occasion. Amount to the same thing,” the senator explained.

Pimentel added that President Duterte was doing his sworn duty to execute the laws and be the head of the executive branch.

Among the former and active PNP generals linked to illegal drugs include former Region 6 Director Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz; former National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao; , former Quezon City Police Director Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio, former Police Chief Supt. General Vicente Loot who is now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, and former Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also defended President Duterte’s tactic to name names first, saying the President has prior challenge to the police officials allegedly coddling drug syndicates to come out or resign “otherwise I will humiliate you.”

”So he was addressing whoever he thinks are involved in the illegal drugs. But nobody heed to his call, nobody resigned, perhaps he was challenged to reveal the names. That was his call,” Lacson said.

Lacson said he had previous information that two of the five police officials named by President Duterte were suspected protectors of the drug syndicates.

”Two of the five have been mentioned by my former subordinates. I said it seems there are basis. I cannot name names because I don’t have means to validate. I was just saying that the President have basis because he has access to all kinds of information,” Lacson, a former PNP chief, said.

Lacson said he gave his own information to PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa.

On the other hand, neophyte Senator Leila de Lima said the name and shame tact adopted by President Duterte “has both a plus and a minus.”

”On one hand it demonstrates his seriousness, his determination to really stamp out criminality and corruption, especially within the PNP ranks, between and among the PNP officials. So that’s the plus,” De Lima said.

De Lima, however, said the President’s tactic was violating due process.

”They’re still presumption of innocence and therefore, they are entitled to be heard. They should not be put and subjected to trial by publicity,” she said. Jelly Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com