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Regional News

Over 2,100 Philippine cops monitored for drug, crime links

MANILA (The Philippine Star) — At least 2,120 police officers, including an official, are under investigation and surveillance for alleged involvement in narcotics and other illegal activities, the Philippine National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group said Sunday.

The Philippines, which has a population of over 108 million, has about 170,000 police officers.

Lt. Col. Renante Lambojo, the group’s chief of staff, said they received information that a police colonel has been benefiting from the illegal drug trade. But Lambojo did not identity the police official.

Of those under investigation and surveillance, 504 are police officials while 1,616 are non-commissioned officers.

About 763 or 36 percent are accused of robbery or extortion while the others are under investigation for illegal drugs, illegal gambling, kidnapping and other offenses.

Most of the policemen are assigned in Metro Manila, Lambojo said.

“The number is not much in the [central region of] Visayas. There are some in [the southern island of] Mindanao,” he said.

The Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group or IMEG used to be known as the Counter-Intelligence Task Force. It has been upgraded to a national support unit as part of the national police’s drive to rid the service of scalawags.

Based on police records, Lambojo said a total of 106 police officers, including seven officials and 194 civilians have been arrested by the IMEG. Of the offenders, 61 have been dismissed from the service.

The IMEG is expected to get more police officers to beef up its roster. Currently it only has about 57 regulars, with a complement of 40 Special Action Force commandos.

After its status was elevated to a national support unit, IMEG’s ideal strength is 378 police officers, including 72 SAF troopers.