Press Release
April 12, 2016


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Tuesday asked Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ricardo Marquez to immediately relieve the four police generals identified in the "confidential meeting" with a campaign staff of Liberal Party (LP) candidates on April 2 at a hotel in Cubao, Quezon City.

In a letter formalizing his complaint to the PNP chief, Escudero said relieving the top-ranking police officials of their duties is in order pending the outcome of a thorough investigation into possible violation of laws on electioneering or partisan political activity.

"The [PNP] shall play a crucial role in the upcoming 2016 elections. We cannot permit a dodgy incident like the encounter of the four police generals to overshadow the integrity and credibility of the forthcoming May 9, 2016 elections," Escudero said in his letter-complaint addressed to Marquez.

"Unscrupulous police officers bent on exercising partisan political activity for personal gain and self-aggrandizement have no place in the [PNP]," the veteran lawmaker added.

Escudero's complaint was based on a newspaper report saying that four high-ranking PNP officials were seen in a meeting with people identified with Mar Roxas at the Novotel Hotel, which is a stone's throw away from his residence and headquarters of the administration presidential bet.

The four police officials are identified as Director Generoso Cerbo Jr., chief of the PNP directorate for intelligence, and Chief Superintendents Renier Idio, Bernardo Diaz and Ronald Santos.

Journalists attending a workshop spotted the generals, who were in civilian clothes, in the company of retired PNP Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., a known Roxas supporter. A member of Roxas' staff identified as Thea Reyes and retired Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo of the Western Mindanao Command were also seen in the meeting.

Escudero questioned the timing of the so-called "confidential meeting" of four police generals with personalities identified with Roxas, which happened barely a month before the May 9 polls.

The running mate of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe reminded Marquez that the 1987 Constitution "clearly prohibits any officer or employee in the civil service to engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign."

Escudero also cited a similar provision in the Civil Service Law which bars officers and employees in the civil service to engage directly or indirectly in partisan political activities or take part in any election except to vote.

He said the Omnibus Election Code also provides that "any officers or employee in the civil service, except those holding political offices; any officer, employee or member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or any police force, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defend units and all other para-military units... who, directly or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political activity, except to vote to preserve public order, if he is a peace officer shall be guilty of an election offense."

Under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, election offense is punishable by a jail term of not less than one year but not more than six years without probation, as well as perpetual disqualification from holding public office and deprivation of the right to suffrage.

"Mindful of these constitutional and statutory provisions, all the members of the [PNP] were ordered to remain apolitical. Ironically, gauging from the news reports, it would appear that the high-ranking officers of the police force, specifically the four generals identified were the first to disobey your orders and violate the mandate of the constitutional and statutory provisions cited above," Escudero said.

He added: "Meeting with personalities identified with Roxas is obviously a partisan political activity. Clearly, their actions undermine the series of internal reforms you have done to professionalize the police force and to strengthen the public trust it has achieved under your stead."

As a noble profession, Escudero said the police service "demands not only a specialized knowledge and skills but a high standard of ethics and morality."

"PNP members should inhibit themselves from soliciting political patronage on matters pertaining to assignments, awards and promotions. Its officers must set good examples for the other members to follow," said Escudero, an independent candidate.

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