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Cover-up of cops on drug watchlist will erode public trust in PNP –Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday warned that any attempt to cover-up the inclusion of police officers in the drug watchlist would erode the public’s trust in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In her weekly radio show, Robredo said that the PNP's leadership needed to instead show the public that wrongdoings by cops would not go unpunished.

“Ipakita sana ng kapulisan na hindi sila nagpapabaya na hindi maparusahan iyong mga nag-aabuso. Kapag ang stance ng kapulisan [ay] pinapakita na parang pinagtatakpan pa, dito nag-uumpisa iyong erosion ng trust ng tao,” she said.

“Kung iyong institusyon mismo iyong nagko-cover up, iyong institusyon mismo iyong nagtatakip, malaki ang problema natin. Dapat sana sila iyong mag-exert ng effort ipakita sa taumbayan na, una, hindi nila tino-tolerate iyong wrongdoings.”

Robredo also lamented how ordinary civilians alleged to be involved in the illegal drug trade were immediately killed under the administration’s war on drugs, while cops were given the benefit of the doubt.

PNP Chief Police General Archie Gamboa earlier said he assured the 357 cops on the drug watchlist that their names would not be made public until the investigations on them were concluded. 

Meanwhile, the Palace expressed its continued trust in Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido despite the confirmation that his name was on the watchlist. 

Espenido previously earned praise from President Rodrigo Duterte himself for leading the operation that led to the killing of a suspected big-time drug lord in July 2017. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News