By Genalyn Kabiling
In light of the ninja cop controversy hounding the Philippine National Police (PNP), Malacañang is amenable to a proposed lifestyle check on policemen as part of the anti-corruption drive.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Philippine National Police (PNP) internal affairs unit could initiate the lifestyle review to determine if the policemen are living within their means.
“It is a good idea. There should be lifestyle check internally among PNP, and for that matter, all heads of department should conduct on their own,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“It will help (the anti-corruption campaign). If you see there are people who are not supposed to be having this kind of wealth, o di may problema ka,” he added.
Several cops were implicated in the alleged drug recycling scandal in Pampanga.
During a controversial operation in 2013, the Pampanga cops allegedly recycled 160 kilograms of shabu and released a suspected drug lord in exchange for P50 million. The penalty of dismissal order was downgraded to a one-rank demotion after the cops filed an appeal.
In a recent Senate inquiry, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde has been accused of allegedly blocking the dismissal of his former subordinates when he was the Pampanga police chief. He has denied the allegations.
President Duterte had earlier said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) would conduct an inquiry on the alleged ninja cops as soon as the Senate wraps up its own investigation.
He maintained that Albayalde must be given due process, particularly the right to be heard amid allegations he attempted to intervene in the alleged irregular drug raid in Pampanga.
He also explained that he needs “clear proof” linking Albayalde to the illegal drug trade, adding he could not make a knee-jerk reaction to calls for his removal.
According to Panelo, the President wants the truth behind the ninja cop controversy.
“He wants the truth – who are the people involved, how are they involved,” he said.