TWENTY-FOUR third-level cops have yet to quit their jobs after about 97% of top-level police officers did so to cleanse their ranks of a “deep infection” of the illegal drug trade, the national police chief said on Monday.  

At a press briefing streamed live on Facebook, national police chief Rodolfo S. Azurin said he would leave it to Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. if authorities would disclose the names of senior cops involved in illegal drugs.  

“To the 24 who have yet to submit their courtesy resignations, I hope they find discernment,” he said in mixed Filipino and English.  

“The 97% or the 929 resignations show how responsive our third-level officers are and how they want closure,” the police chief added, referring to allegations of their top brass being involved in the illegal drug trade.  

The Interior chief earlier urged all police colonels and generals to resign after a probe found many of them involved in illegal drug activities. A five-man committee will evaluate the records of each top police officer who resigned.  

On Sunday, Mr. Abalos said top cops may still face prosecution after retirement.   

The five-man committee and the National Police Commission would continue investigating retired senior cops involved in illegal drugs.  

“Even if a police official is allowed to retire for the time being, the monitoring and investigation must continue, to gather evidence that may lead to eventual criminal prosecution,Mr. Abalos said.  

Police had killed 46 drug suspects as of November during illegal drug operations under the new administration, said Mr.Azurin, who was appointed police chief in August.  

Mr. Abalos earlier said law enforcers seized about P10 billion worth of illegal drugs in 24,000 drug operations last year. About 30,000 drug suspects were arrested under the Marcos administration, which started in July.  

“We are expecting that they will maintain their impeccable character and integrity so that the result of all their evaluations will be acceptable for everyone,” Mr. Azurin said. “Similarly, we appeal that the process will be devoid of personal and political biases.” John Victor D. Ordoñez