Roxas generals? Mar says file cases, don't spread rumors

MANILA, Philippines – Manuel Roxas II, the defeated presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (LP) on Wednesday, July 6, distanced himself from 5 retired and active police generals supposedly linked to illegal drugs.

In a statement, Roxas said “some online sites and traditional media outlets” had identified particular cops as “Roxas Generals,” meaning they had campaigned for the LP candidate in the 2016 elections even if they were still on active duty. Police and military generals are barred from partisan political activity.

“Despite lacking any clear basis, the insinuation is that these individuals campaigned for me in the last election. To be clear: there are no Roxas Generals,” said Roxas in the statement.

On Tuesday, July 5, newly-installed President Rodrigo Duterte revealed the names of 5 police generals who supposedly have links to or are protectors of the illegal drug trade. Two of those generals are retired while 3 are still on active duty.

“My professional working relationship with some of these individuals started when I took over the helm of DILG, and ended when I tendered my resignation in 2015,” added Roxas, who as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government had administrative supervision over the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Roxas held the post from 2013 to 2015.

File cases, don’t spread rumors

On Wednesday, the 3 active generals – Police Director Joel Pagdilao, Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, and Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz – spoke to PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa. (READ: PNP chief to top cops linked to drugs: 'Face the music')

Pagdilao was assigned chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, Tinio the chief of the Quezon City Police District, and Diaz, former Western Visayas regional police chief. They were appointed to those posts in 2015.

While distancing himself from the senior police officials, Roxas also emphasized that the “proper course of action” would have been to file cases against the 5 “in accordance with due process, instead of engaging in innuendo and circulating rumors.”

Despite Duterte’s dramatic announcement, cases against the 5 are not yet ready. They have also denied Duterte's allegations. 

The 3 active police generals will be investigated by the National Police Commission but the 2 retired generals – Marcelo Garbo Jr and Vicente Loot – are already beyond its jurisdiction.

Loot, however, is currently the mayor of Daanbantayan town and is under the jurisdiction of the DILG. And while Loot is in politics, Roxas pointed out that he had supported a different candidate in 2016: now-president Duterte.

Roxas links

But at least two of the police officials mentioned by Duterte have direct or indirect electoral links to Roxas.

Garbo, who retired in March 2016, openly campaigned for Roxas as soon as he left the police force. On “floating” status for several years, Garbo quickly climbed the ranks of the PNP after being appointed regional chief of Western Visayas.

While top cop of the region, Garbo oversaw the suspension of then Cebu governor Gwen Garcia. He was then appointed chief of the National Capital Region before finally joining the Command Group as the chief of directorial staff.

He retired as the PNP’s second-in-command or the Deputy Chief of Administration. Garbo has also denied the supposed links to illegal drugs and has insisted that Duterte was simply fed the wrong information

Diaz, meanwhile, was among the active generals seen in Novotel in Cubao, Quezon City, at the same time as Roxas’ campaign staff. Garbo was also seen in the same hotel.

Garbo and the active generals seen in the hotel, however, denied any political talk when they met. Roxas then downplayed the Novotel incident, saying his campaign staff and the police generals merely exchange pleasantries that day. –