Four SAF officials face plunder over missing allowances

Published April 18, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Aaron Recuenco

Outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa smells something fishy over the missing allowances of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) amounting to P60 million.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Dela Rosa told Manila Bulletin he talked with the officials implicated in the missing additional daily subsistence allowance of the SAF commandos and admitted he was not satisfied with what he heard.

“I am not satisfied with the reasons they gave when I asked them about it. So they must face the case because a case was already filed before the Office of the Ombudsman anyway,” said Dela Rosa.

A plunder case was filed by active and retired SAF officials against former SAF commander Director Benjamin Lusad, SAF budget officer Senior Supt. Andre Dizon and Maila Bustamante and James Irica of the SAF Finance office.

Based on the complaint, the respondents reportedly failed to give the P30/day allowance of the SAF commandos for more than two years despite receiving the fund from the PNP leadership.

“I am not prejudging the case because there is an ongoing investigation (by the Ombudsman) but the way I see it, there was really a problem because it will not become an issue if there was none,” said Dela Rosa.

“So we really have to go to the bottom of it and this is already being done by the Ombudsman,” he added.


Dela Rosa was surprised that Lusad, his upperclassman was involved in the fund mess having known him as a good officer.

“He explained to me that he became too lenient on his budget and finance officers,” shared Dela Rosa.

He referred to Lusad as his “savior” when they were cadets at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) saving him from the ire of their seniors, at times causing him to escape punishments. Lusad is a member of Class 1985, while Dela Rosa belongs to Class 1986.

“I am very much disappointed on how that happened despite the fact that I know him to be a very good officer. He is very snappy and he is hard working,” lamented Dela Rosa.

“But in this case, there is no savior-savior here when it comes to corruption allegations,” he added.

Dela Rosa assured no cover up in this case.

“This should be investigated and all those involved, if true, should be held accountable because this is an issue of corruption,” he stressed.

SAF retained

After getting a three-month extension of his tour of duty, Dela Rosa will relinquish his post to his “mistah” (classmate) National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Oscar Albayalde, the incoming PNP chief tomorrow.

Dela Rosa will assume his post as head of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) after a short vacation.

The SAF unit will remain at the BuCor.

“Their presence at the NBP is crucial. I need them there,” he told Manila Bulletin.

Two SAF battalions are currently providing security at the maximum compound of the state penitentiary. Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre revealed the drug trade persists ran by drug lords from the minimum compound where there are is no SAF presence.

“I trust my SAF men. They will be of big help for me in addressing the drug problems inside the NBP,” Dela Rosa added.