Suspend ex-SAF chief, 3 others over missing funds – complainants

MANILA, Philippines – Former members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF), including one of its former chiefs, asked the Ombudsman on Tuesday, April 24, to suspend several cops amid a probe into missing funds.

In a supplemental joint affidavit filed on Tuesday, the original complainants in a case filed against former SAF chief Police Director Benjamin Lusad, former SAF finance chief Superintendent Andre Dizon, and finance sergeants Maila Salazar Bustamante and Jack James Rodrigo Irica, asked the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices to put the 4 under preventive suspension.

“The Order placing the said PNP personnel under preventive suspension is necessary in order to prevent them from influencing the conduct of the investigation, gathering of evidence, and harassing the witnesses against them,” the complainants said in their supplemental affidavit.

Complainants, led by former SAF chief Moro Lazo, had filed cases against the 4 cops over P59.8 million in unreleased allowances.

The 4 have since been relieved from their post. Lusad, a 2-star general, currently reports to the Office of the Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Dizon, Bustamante, and Irica all report to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) in Camp Crame.

This means that the 4 continue to receive their respective salaries but hold no position in the police force.

Preventive suspension will mean their salaries will be put on hold, too.

The complainants filed the supplemental affidavit after Dizon, who had already been assigned to the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Southern Luzon (DIPO-SL), returned P10 million to Bustamante on April 12. 

Dizon later returned over P27 million to the SAF’s finance department on April 15, according to the supplemental affidavit. (READ: Returning money won't stop probes vs ex-SAF chief – Dela Rosa)

Lusad and Dizon both moved to the DIPO-SL after being relieved from the SAF in January 2018.

The complainants admitted they “inadvertently forgot to request for the issuance of an Order for their preventive suspension pending the investigation of the complaints against them.”

They argued that a preventive suspension would “maintain and preserve all the allegations and attachments contained in our complaint.”

The full list of complainants, a mix of former and current SAF personnel, is as follows:

– Rappler.com